Defending champion Adamson University and University of Santo Tomas (UST) arranged a best-of-three championship showdown after toppling their respective semifinal foes in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 78 softball tournament on Monday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Adamson posted a come-from-behind 7-6 win over University of the Philippines (UP) with reserve pitcher Rifayca Basa delivering in the crucial moments.
“It’s a big comeback. Minsan ‘yun ang masarap na panalo, ‘yung come-from-behind. I am happy na nanalo kami kahit crucial ‘yung game kanina and at the same time nakita ko ‘yung eagerness ng mga bata na makabalik sa Finals,” said Adamson head coach Ana Santiago.
Basas replaced struggling ace pitcher Annalie Benjamen and turned the game around as Adamson scored five runs in the bottom sixth, capped by a hit by Delyrose Covarrubias that sent Lorna Adorable at home for a 7-6 advantage.
“It is a test on our team especially nawawala [out of focus]‘yung number one pitcher ko, si Benjamen. Hindi maganda ‘yung pitching niya,” said Santiago.
Adorable, Queeny Sabobo and Riezel Calumbres had two hits and one RBI apiece.
“Sabi ko sa kanila do not depend on your pitcher. Kailangan natin dito offense para manalo tayo. Naipakita naman nila. Nung one inning naka-score kami ng five runs. Sabi ko sa kanila mananalo tayo basta may palo tayo. Hindi tayo mananalo kung puro depensa lang, kailangan lang lumabas yung palo,” Santiago added.
On the other hand, UST defeated National University, 8-4, in the other semifinals match.
“They really want to win. Kilala naman nila ‘yung mga pitchers na nagpapaluan. So ang sinabi ko ay timing lang. Huwag na silang mag-hesitate mag-swing, dapat swing hard talaga,” said UST head coach Sandy Barredo.
Last week, UST posted an 6-2 impressive win to end Adamson’s historic 73-game winning streak.
“I am very thankful nag-second place na kami. That’s it. We are not aiming for championship. Depende na sa girls if how they play, so be it. Sugatan na sila [Adamson]. Alam na namin kung paano susugatan ulit,” said Barredo.
The Game 1 of the finals will be played on Friday at 8:30 a.m. at the same venue.
“Very interesting game. Maghaharap ang tumalo sa amin, ang pumutol ng winning streak namin. Malakas na team ang UST dahil may taya, depensa, pitcher, palo meron din silang laban. Kaya hindi ma-predict kung sino mananalo,” stressed Santiago.