Defending champion Adamson University overpowered University of Santo Tomas (UST), 9-2, to take Game 1 of the best-of-three finals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 78 softball tournament on Friday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila.
The Lady Falcons banked on a huge five-run onslaught in the fourth inning to clinch the series opener.
“Don’t depend on your pitcher. Kailangan ninyong mag-excel individually especially sa offense dahil ‘yun ang kailangan natin. So, siguro nag-prepare sila physically and mentally para sa game na ito,” said Adamson head coach Ana Santiago.
Adamson’s defensive line worked as ace pitcher Annalie Benjamen only allowed three hits and two runs for UST. Santiago believes that Benjamen regain her form after a dramatic loss to the Tigresses in the elimination round.
“Kinausap ko siya [Benjamen] ng masinsinan. Sabi ko sa kanya, sa previous game kahit nawawala yung offense natin, nananalo tayo, bakit? Kasi nandyan ka. Naho-hold mo ‘yung defense natin. Nandyan ka tapos lalabas ang palo natin – maganda ang mangyayari sa atin,” said Santiago.
Benjamen, for her part, said “Kumuha ako ng motivation mula kay coach. ‘Yung mga teammate ko hindi na lang umaasa sa akin tapos ‘yung kulang ko noong nakaraan na kalaban namin UST, ini-improve ko noong time na nag-training kami bago ang laban namin sa kanila.”
“Kailangan naming bumalik siguro dahil may purpose si God bakit binalik ‘yung UST sa amin kasi sabi ng coach namin kapag oras ng laro dapat ‘yung puso namin nandoon din, wala kaming iniisip na iba,” added Benjamen, who struck out four batters for the Lady Falcons.
Riezel Calumbres got the job done with two run-batted-ins (RBI) to give Adamson a 6-2 advantage. Lorna Adorable and Gelyn Lamata also had two RBIs. Newly named Most Valuable Player Queeny Sabobo contributed one RBI.
Sabobo also won the Best Slugger and Most RBI honors and shared the Most Homerun award with Lamata.
The other individual awardees were Benjamen (Best Pitcher), UST’s Cristy Joy Roa (Best Hitter) and Kristine Joy Lacupa (Most Stolen Bases) and National University’s Aime Watson (Rookie of the Year).
“I think ‘yung motivation at ‘yung sabi ko sa kanila na yung pagkatalo namin sa UST instead na maging negative thoughts of losing maging motivation nila to bounce back. Hindi ko sinasabing blessing na natalo tayo, for me, it is a good sign for us because alam natin ngayon na mayroon pa tayo I-improve. Ang kailangang kailangan natin maging mentally prepared tayo and played with a heart ‘yun ang laging sinasabi ko sa kanila,” Santiago said.
Adamson will be gunning for its sixth-straight title and 15th overall in Game 2 scheduled on Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the same venue.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID