ADAMSON University moved on the cusp of extending its softball reign to seven years, while Ateneo de Manila University also gained a head start in its bid to reclaim the baseball throne on Tuesday in University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 79 action at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Lady Falcons bucked a slow start to beat University of Santo Tomas (UST), 9-2, in six innings to inch closer for a record 16th championship.
The Blue Eagles turned back the Growling Tigers, 9-2, to grab a 1-0 advantage in the baseball championship series.
Despite playing with a hurting hand, Adamson pitcher Lyca Basa was able to held on with a three-strikeout effort, while Angelie Ursabia belted out three RBIs.
After giving up two runs at the top first, the Lady Falcons came through with five runs, as pitcher Mary Ann Antolihao struggled big time.
UST never recovered from there and lost Antolihao late in the fourth inning due to a knee injury.
Mallows Garde replaced Antolihao with Adamson ahead, 7-2, but her efforts were not enough to bail the España-based softbelles out of the funk.
Antolihao’s status in Game 2 remains uncertain, as Adamson goes for the jugular on Friday at the same venue.
“I told them, no pressure, there’s nothing new in the Finals. Just do what you’ve been doing in the first two rounds,” said Lady Falcons coach Ana Santiago.
The Tigresses started hot behind Celestine Palma and Lealyn Guevarra, but the Lady Falcons got into the groove as Riezel Calumbres, Lorna Adorable, Flor Pabiania, Gelyn Lamata and Ursabia connected to take the upper hand in the first inning.
Ateneo coach Randy Dizer stressed that his team is determined to erase the pain of last season’s Finals loss to fierce rival De La Salle that ended the Katipunan-based sluggers’ three-year reign.
“Right, after last year, we wanted to get it back,” said Dizer.
The Eagles seek for their fourth title in five seasons in Game 2 slated at Friday noon.
With bases loaded, the Growling Tigers surrendered three walks to hand the Eagles a 4-1 lead in the bottom third.
Javi Macasaet delivered a hit that sent Dino Altamonte and Radito Banzon home to give Ateneo an 8-1 advantage in the bottom sixth.