De La Salle University and Adamson University hurdled separate opponents to set the stage for their best-of-three tile series for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 80 baseball championship on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Green Archers made official archrival Ateneo Blue Eagles’ dethronement, 11-8, in a freewheeling, free-hitting encounter reminiscent of their heated feud that started during their NCAA days and heightened when they transferred in the leagues.
The only difference was they failed to draw the thousands of supposed to be loyal alumni and followers that watched each time they erase each other out in basketball. Only less than a thousand of the two schools students and members their cheering squads were present as the Archers unseated the Eagles from their throne.
The Falcons, for their part, exerted just enough efforts in a 13-4 demolition of ambitious National University Bulldogs in scoring their seventh win in nine times up, second best to the Archers’ 8-1 win-loss card with only one playing day left in the two-round, six-team elimination phase of the tournament.
That, too, rendered Wednesday’s encounter between the Archers and the Falcons in one of a three-game schedule to lower the curtains of the qualifying round moot and academic.
University of the East, meanwhile, completed the cast of the semifinal round of the league’s women’s softball tournament with a 7-0 shutting out of National U Saturday that gifted the Lady Warriors a 6-5 win-loss slate and a fourth place finish in the double-round, seven-team eliminations.
Defending titlist Adamson massacred La Salle, 10-0 to formalize its entry as the to team in the Final Four with a superior 10-2 record, followed by the University of Santo Tomas, 8-4. NU and UE, which tote identical 7-5 when the semis starts hostilities on Thursday.
Both the Lady Falcons and the Tigresses enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage over the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Warriors, respectively, in the cross over semis pitting the no.1 and no.2 teams against the no.4 and no. 3 teams, respectively, in the standing.
With the prospect of losing the baseball crown hanging over their heads, the Eagles fought the Archers tooth and nail throughout he seen-inning showdown, even gaining the upper hand at the bottom of the opening frame, 1-0, as they tagged the Archers’ starting pitcher Francis Gesmundo with a pair of singles.
La Salle took control at the top of the next period with a three run attack and continued showing the way, 5-3, after the sixth before Ateneo regained the lead as the lower half of the same frame with their own three-run salvo built around a pair of two-base hits and a single.
Another three-run assault in the seventh, a pair in the eighth complete with a marker in the ninth ended whatever hopes there were for the Eagles to reverse their fate as Arvin Herrera, who by then was manning the hill, finally silenced their bats.
The Eagles actually outhit the Archers, 13-10, but coach Randy Dizers’ boys just couldn’t bring runners they planted on the bags home despite filling the bases quite a few times.