The two games of the UAAP Baseball Finals have been a test of character, will, and endurance.
Played under the scorching heat of the summer sun, the series between top-seed De La Salle University Green Batters and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles has seen multiple cases of cramps and exhaustion.
But with gold at stake, the student-athletes are giving it all they have.
With the Blue Eagles’ backs against the wall, third-year pitcher Miggy Angeles put up a career performance, steering his squad to a dominant 7-3 Game Two win, Wednesday, to send the series to a winner-take-all contest.
Moreover, it was a no-relief effort – the first time he went the full nine in his entire UAAP career.
“This is actually my first complete game in Ateneo. This is really special for me and I was able to deliver,” said the resident of Pasig, who had a pitch count of 145 – only allowing nine hits, that resulted in just three runs for La Salle.
“He was sensational today.
“He was hungry today, even if he was struggling with control during the last few games. During the three-day rest, we told him he was going to start and he wanted it,” added Ateneo head coach Bocc Bernardo.
Angeles needed this moment to boost his confidence after Game One.
During the opening chapter of the three-game series, Angeles was tasked to play relief for Ateneo ace Paulo Macasaet. In the 1.67 innings he pitched, he allowed three hits that resulted in three runs, capped by a two-run homer by La Salle slugger Iggy Escano.
“La Salle is really a tough team,” admitted the lefty. “In Game One, I was the one who gave up a home run.
“I wanted to make it up for the Ateneo community.”
He did it with flying colors, and then some.
Come the ninth inning, Angeles was already having trouble with his control. With one out, he accidentally struck Diego Lozano with a pitch. After a balk, Boo Barandiaran was able to bring home Lozano.
Not wanting to put his effort to waste, he was able to stop the potential La Salle rampage to seal the win. Moreover, he did not want to let his seniors down.
“My mentality the entire game was just to give it my all. I did it for my seniors because I want them to have a memorable season,” recalled Angeles, as Ateneo had fallen to third place in Season 80 after winning it all a year prior.
“Since we weren’t able to win it all last season, I want to make it up to them this season.”
Come Friday, Angeles vowed to remain ready to serve as relief once more for Macasaet. And he plans to go all-out if it happens.
“I’ll be waiting for coach Randy’s call. I’m gonna be ready for sure.”