For the past eight years, the Adamson Softball Team has been particularly dominant, always sweeping a Finals series or drawing first blood.
This time around, however, the Lady Falcons were sent to unfamiliar territory, as Ann Antolihao and the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles were able to hold the defending champions down to take a 4-3 Game One win, Tuesday morning at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“Pinaka-importante ‘yung Game One. ‘Pag nakakuha ka ng ng Game One, madali na ‘yung Game Two and Three. Pero ‘di natin pipilitin umabot ng Game 3, tatapusin na natin, pipilitin natin matapos ng Friday, Game Two. That’s it,” said UST head coach Sandy Barredo.
Expected best pitcher winner Ann Antolihao was masterful on the mound, limiting the potent Adamson offense to just five hits, while striking out seven batters.
“Kudos to Antolihao,” expressed Adamson head coach Ana Santiago. “Talagang gustong gusto niyang maipanalo yung laro na ito para sa kanila. Sobrang controlled ng pitches niya.”
“Na-control lang namin yung palo nila tsaka depensa. Nagkataon lang na off sila. Ganun lang naman ‘yung laro,” Barredo said, on the other hand.
With Antolihao clicking, it was up to the UST batters to step up.
UST slugger Tin Palma opened up the scoring with a single to bring home Hannah Dela Torre, right in the very first inning. Adamson, however, got two back, as leading home run artist Jeanette Rusia and Flor Pabiana slammed back-to-back home runs.
Unperturbed this time around after experiencing two Finals series prior, the Tiger Softbelles answered right back during the third frame.
Adamson shortstop Edna Severino committed a fielding error after fumbling a grounder that gave Jessie Belano base. A Palma walk and a double by clean-up hitter CJ Roa knotted the contest. Bianca Hernandez then popped a single that brought home two runners for the go-ahead runs.
“Okay naman yung game e, dikit. Breaks of the game lang talaga yung nangyari. Yung three runs kasi nila nagsimula sa error and walk. No runner on base tapos easy grounder for two outs. Kung nag two outs yun, siyempre mag-iiba yung complexion ng laro,” rued Santiago. “So tama yung sabi ko sa kanila prior to the game, ‘kung sino unang mag-eeror, talo.’ Ayun, talo kami.”
“Kaya lang Very timing yung hit ni Bianca, ‘yung one hit na yun. Big inning ‘yan ‘yung nakai-score tayo ng three points. Pero sana maging consistent siya everytime na papalo siya. Hindi ganun na pasulpot-sulpot. Dapat consistent,” Barredo remarked about Hernandez, who went 1-of-3 at-bat.
Adamson ace Lyca Basa gave up seven hits in the contest.
Game Two of the best-of-three series will take place on Friday, March 16.