Coming into the season, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons were pegged by the league’s top coaches as the darkhorse in the UAAP Season 80 Baseball Tournament. Sunday afternoon, they finally showed why.
With senior pitcher Jerome Yenson playing his heart out, the tournament hosts toppled defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 7-3, at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“Sobrang sarap nito. Ito talaga yung pinaghandaan namin, yung mga malalakas na team. Sayang lang talaga yung game namin against La Salle,” said Adamson’s ace pitcher.
Yenson, a member of the national team and a graduating senior, played all nine innings in the contest, having a pitch count of 152 according to Ateneo’s Benjo Afuang. And he was excellent on the mound as he struck out 13 batters while helping limit Ateneo to its season-low six hits.
“Tama yung sinabi ko last time na hinahanda talaga namin si Yenson para sa larong ito. Malaking salamat na nagdeliver siya at tinulungan siya ng kanyang mga kasama,” expressed a relieved Adamson head coach Orlando Binarao.
Going into the contest, the Blue Eagles were a confidence bunch as they romped the UP Fighting Maroons and the NU Bulldogs during their first two outings. And they were able to start on the right foot with Dino Altomonte bringing home Ryan Hilario and Marquis Alindogan in the second inning for a 2-1 lead.
The Soaring Falcons though stayed composed, picking up three runs in the third and fourth innings for a 5-4 lead. Against reigning Best Pitcher Paulo Macasaet, Vince Terible connected on a single that brought home Jayson Benito for the go-ahead run.
By the seventh inning, Macasaet was already gassed and had to be subbed out for Miggy Angeles. The Soaring Falcons connected against Angeles with ease, scoring three more runs that was highlighted by a 2-RBI triple by John Maigue.
Up until the end, the Soaring Falcons stuck with Yenson to close out the game.
“Yung mga ganung klaseng situation, hindi dapat palampasin. Sabi ko sa kanila, huwag sila manggigil at huwag sila mag-relax,” Binarao recalled about the last huddle they had during the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Binigyan ako ng kumpyansa ng teammates at coaches ko kanina. Sila yung nag-push sa akin nung pagod na ko,” added Yenson, who also had two RBIs in the contest.
Erwin Bosito had three runs in the game.
Marquis Alindogan, who went 5-of-5 against UP, paced Ateneo’s offense by going 3-of-4.
Adamson will next face the UST Golden Sox on Wednesday, February 14. Ateneo, on the other hand, looks to bounce back at the expense of arch-rivals DLSU Green Batters on the same day at 7:00am.