Entering the season, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons were seen as one of the favorites to challenge defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles.
Two games in, however, they have not earned that reputation, as the batters from San Marcelino needed to eke out an 8-5 win against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“Mula first game hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin bumabalik yung kumpiyansa nila,” rued Adamson head coach Orlando Binarao.
“Actually kasi, mabuti lang na hindi nag-connect yung UP sa opensa. Hindi ako convinced sa panalo namin. Yung ine-expect ko na lalaruin going into the season, hindi ganun e. So ang sabi ko sa kanila, kailangan bumalik yung confidence namin,” the Adamson legend furthered.
After giving up just two hits in their heartbreaking loss to the De La Salle University just three days ago, the Soaring Falcons allowed nine this game. Despite this, Adamson’s offense clicked this time, hitting nine as well.
Down 1-2 entering the third inning, Adamson’s offense came alive, largely due to Steven Manaig.
An error and a ball respectively gave Bryan Castillo and Gerald Riparip base. A sac fly by Erwin Bosito gave the two scoring position, while last season’s runner-up to the Most Valuable Player race Jerome Yenson was walked to load things up. Staying composed, Manaig, a third-year student-athlete, uncorked a long one to center field that led to three runs, giving Adamson the lead for good.
Manaig had three RBIs in the game and two runs of his own.
Adamson were able to punch in one more run during the sixth inning before UP came alive.
Mark Tuballas slammed UP’s first home run of the season during the seventh inning, that drove in two runs and retired John Maigue from the mound. Yenson was then switched from first base to closer.
“Nung naubos pitchers ko, si Yenson sinabi niya ready siya. Kaso nawala naman yung first base ko. Nailabas ko na si [Raymond] Matic pero buti naman nag-deliver niya,” Binarao beamed about his senior.
Adamson’s three-run eighth inning was not safe, as UP continued their rally at the bottom end of the inning. With two outs, Gabby Yang was walked, before a couple of base hits by Phonso Balagtas and Tuballas punched in a run. But Yenson calmly struck out power hitter Roque Banzon to quell the rally. Two more strikeouts in the final inning proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Fighting Maroons.
“Si Yenson talaga yung ace ko. Sana maka-deliver siya. Baka sa Sunday siya yung start ko against Ateneo,” shared Binarao.
Lexter Carandang, Adamson’s starting pitcher, and Yenson both had four strikeouts in the contest.
Tuballas, on the other hand, had an excellent game, posting three RBIs, a run, and a stolen base. Kenneth Marinas started on the mound for UP.
Adamson will next face Ateneo in one of the most anticipated showdowns this round on Sunday, February 11. UP, on the other hand, will try to end their losing skid against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Sox.