National University formally laid claim to its place in the semifinal round of the UAAP Women’s Softball Championship with an easy 9-6 thumping of defending champion Adamson University Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
As expected, the Lady Falcons, who had already made it to the Final Four earlier last Monday, called on their bench to reserve their first unit for the tougher job ahead, but still able to put out a fight before folding up down the stretch.
Coach Ana Santiago started with seldom used Arlyn Bautista, who held her own on the mound for five innings and-a-half presiding over the plays that saw Adamson dictate the tempo, 4-1, after three completed frames and 5-3 after five.
Only when the Lady Bulldogs came abreast at 6-all halfway through the sixth that Santiago relieved her starter, but the enemies, already had the momentum, they proceeded to score six more runs the rest of the way against relievers Baby Jane Raro and Princess Jurado for the final count.
“Well, as I expected, maganda ang naging resulta ng move namin kahit natalo. Nakapagpahinga na ang starters namin, nakita pa ang magagawa ng second unit,” Santiago reasoned out.
The victory was the Lady Bulldogs’ seventh in 11 outings that tied them with erstwhile solo second University of Santo Tomas behind Adamson’s league-leading 9-2 win-loss card.
That benefited, too, the Tigresses, who, likewise joined the Lady Falcons in the Round of Four despite losing to the fighting University of the East Lady Warriors, 1-5, in the day’s other contest.
The Lady Warriors, who improved to 6-5, can join the Final Four play with a win over NU in one of Saturday’s three-game schedule at 1 p.m., ending the two-round eliminations.
And if today’s trend of the qualified teams playing it easy to reserve their strength for their campaign in the semis will follow, UE will most-likely make it.
A loss by UE and a win by University of the Philippines (5-6) over UST will create a two-way tie for the fourth and last semifinal round seat, which shall be settled via a winner-take-all playoff.
The Lady Maroons, 8-1, victors over Ateneo, also Wednesday, take on the Tigresses at 11 a.m. following the 9 o’clock meeting between Adamson and La Salle.