EVEN with two game dates left before the end of the elimination round, University of the Philippines and Adamson University arranged a Finals showdown in the UAAP Season 85 Softball Finals after besting separate foes Saturday at the UP Baseball Field.
The Fighting Maroons, who finished in fifth place back in Season 81, dashed University of Santo Tomas’ finals dream with a 5-2 victory to remain undefeated in six contests.
The Lady Falcons, meanwhile, raised their record to 5-1 earlier in the day after a 6-0 shutout of Ateneo de Manila University.
“Eto na yung pinaghirapan namin from the start na talagang nag-sacrifice kami. Ang daming obstacle at pagsubok na pinagdaanan namin. Eto na, nakarating na ng Finals,” said coach Ron Pagkalinawan, who steered UP to its first Finals appearance since UAAP Season 77.
With the game knotted at 1-all, the Fighting Maroons punched in the go-ahead in the fifth inning — a sac fly to center field by Nickole Dela Cruz that brought Danica Aquino home.
That was just the start for Dela Cruz as she uncorked a three-run homer to right field in the seventh inning that blew the game wide open.
Kacelyn Valino pitched all seven innings for UP, allowing both UST runs on two hits.
For the Lady Falcons, freshman Glory Alonzo, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher from Negros Occidental, pitched a no-hitter against the Blue Eagles.
It would have been a perfect game if not for the two walks she allowed in the second inning and a fielding error by first baseman Remilie Herrero.
“So far po, mindset ko lang is kung paano ako makatulong sa team lalo sa loob. Ang maambag ko lang kasi yung pitching. Kahit may palo o wala yung mga kasama ko, iniisip ko lang na ma-hold yung team,” said Alonzo about the performance she had.
“Goal namin is talagang ma-defend yung crown ng Adamson,” continued the former National University pitcher.
On offense, it was shortstop Angelu Gabriel who led Adamson, blasting two home runs — during the first and seventh innings — that punched in three runs.
Both UP and Adamson still have two games remaining — including one more encounter between the two sides on March 11.
“I want more. Tingin ko may ibubuga pa itong team na ito. I want more,” said Pagkalinawan.
To close out the three-game slate, De La Salle University notched its breakthrough win with a 3-1 triumph over archrival Ateneo.
Tied at 1-all, Gladelyn Alipato provided the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, driving a double to center field that brought home April Rose Gonzales. Marian Manansala gave the insurance run an inning after.
Both La Salle and Ateneo are tied with 1-5 slates heading into the penultimate day of the competition.
Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
ADU 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 6 9 1
Ateneo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Game 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
UP 0 0 1 0 1 0 3 5 9 0
UST 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 4 2
Game 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
DLSU 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 7 0
Ateneo 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 2