Another day, another Eagle steps up
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles sustained their momentum from their opening day lambasting of the UST Golden Sox, blasting the National University Bulldogs this time around, 10-1, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila.
The Blue Eagles go to 2-0 to keep pace with defending champions La Salle while the Bulldogs suffer their first defeat, evening their slate.
The final score though did not do justice for National University according to coach Randy Dizer.
“Actually, I don’t think it’s dominant win. It’s just that they committed too many errors,” Ateneo Baseball’s program director said. “May mga error na crucial, that’s why we scored. Dominating is how many hits lang.”
Lefty NU pitcher Junmar Diarao (1-1) was able to keep the Blue Eagles at bay during the first two innings of the game. However, the floodgate was opened in the third inning sparked by a solo homerun by sophomore DH Ryan Hilario. Javi Macasaet then drove in two runs to extend Ateneo’s lead.
And after Marco Mallari’s and Radito Banzon’s explosion on opening day, it was second year Eagle Javi Macasaet who showed his wares this time. The younger Macasaet went 4-of-5 at-bat, all singles, resulting to 3 RBI’s and a run.
And it’s a testament to the depth of the Blue Eagles this season after being ravaged during the off-season.
“Javi, wala siyang masyadong hits last game. Now it’s him. Last game, si Radito went 4-of-4. Si Marco [Mallari] consistent naman yan,” Dizer remarked. “Dan [Laurel] was able to hit na. Ang inaano ko lang naman is lumabas yun, susunod na yung consistency.”
Former UAAP Juniors MVP Gino Tantuico added 2 RBI’s and a run while Marquis Alindogan punched in two more runs, helping Ateneo turn the game into a blowout by the seventh inning.
“Yun yung consolation ko, anybody from the bench I pull can deliver. Wala yung sinasabi nilang butaw. No, none. They can all play,” Dizer added.
The only constant for Ateneo’s two wins was ace pitcher Paulo Macasaet (2-0). After pitching six innings and throwing 103 pitches against UST, the third-year Atenean pitched eight innings this game, striking out eight batters and allowing just four hits.
According to Dizer, Paulo Macasaet is more motivated than ever this season — even finding motivation every where he can get one.
“Ready na siya. Lagi meron siyang [motivation]. Kagaya ngayon, ‘each zero coach yung [warmer] ng Nike.’ Dahil kasi yesterday, Em [Fernandez] gave everybody one. Eh wala siya, hindi siya nakakuha. Hindi siya nakakuha kasi late siya, so sabi niya every inning coach you’re gonna give me one, so bibigyan namin siya. He got seven,” Dizer shared.
But the team will most likely give exposure to the Blue Eagles’ other pitchers in their next games.
“Paolo, kagaya ng sabi ko noon, Paolo’s doing well, and Miggy [Angeles], my rookie umaano naman okay naman, hopefully third game siya naman gagamitin namin, si Dumlao. We’re giving everybody a chance. Marco [Mallari] and Nacho Lozano,” the multi-time champion mentor added.
Ateneo will next face neighbors UP (0-2) on Sunday, February 12 while NU looks to bounce back against UST (0-2) on the same day.
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