The Adamson Lady Falcons are just a game away from winning their seventh-straight crown
The Adamson University Lady Falcons’ offense, the one thing that coach Ana Santiago has been looking for over the entire season, picked up when they needed it the most. With heavy hitters Riezel Calumbres, Lorna Adorable, Angelie Ursabia, and Florable Pabiana leading the way, the defending champions were able to take Game One from the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles, 9-2 abbreviated 6th, Tuesday morning at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“Sabi ko sa mga bata, ‘walang pressure, there’s nothing new in the Finals. Just do what you’ve been doing in the first two rounds. At isa pa, surprise me,'” Santiago shared.
Lead-off batter Calumbres paced Adamson with three runs, going 2-for-3 at bat. Ursabia picked up three RBIs while Pabiana and Covarrubias added two more.
“To start yung season na ito, sabi ko sa kanila no pressure. Madami sa mga key players natin for the past six years ang wala na. Masaya ako na nag-step up sila. Kahit ako mismo, na-surprise ako sa pinakita nila,” Santiago furthered. “Yung mindset nila nandun, yung puso nila nandun, and I think yun yung nagdala sa kanila [this game].”
UST drew first blood by picking up two runs in the opening inning, with Celestine Palma bringing home Lea Guevarra and Mallows Garde returning the favor for Palma.
“Nung nagtama yung UST, sabi ko, ‘kailangan din nila magtama.’ Pag yung first batter naka-tutong, makaka-score kami kaagad. In one inning naka-score kami ng five runs. Hindi pa namin na-scoscoran si Ann ng ganun before,” Santiago reflected.
However, an early error by the Tiger Softbelles at the bottom end of the inning proved to be costly. Calumbres was walked, while a throwing error by shortstop Lea Guevarra gave Adorable base. A huge single by Ursabia knotted the game at 2-all, while a huge triple by Covarrubias later on gave Adamson a 5-2 lead to end the inning.
During the second inning, UST ace Ann Antolihao was clearly hobbling, struggling with her left knee. She was able to push through in the next two innings. However, she caved in during the start of the fifth inning and had to be taken out of the game. The initial diagnosis is that she hyper-extended her left knee and she remains day-to-day.
“Ako naman, from the start, ang main woman nila ay si Antolihao. Kung gusto nila manalo, kailangan tumama sila kay Ann ng consistent mas lalo na kung may runner,” Santiago remarked about the UST senior. “But we’re not looking for that one player only, we’re looking at them as a whole. It doesn’t mean na pag mag-preprepare kami kay Ann, hindi kami mag-preprepare for their other pitchers.”
With UST captain Mallow Garde relieving Antolihao, the onslaught continued in the fourth and fifth innings, highlighted by triples from Adorable and Edna Severino respectively. An RBI single by Pabiana brought home Calumbres in the sixth inning to secure the mercy rule win.
Riflayca Basa pitched all six innings for Adamson, allowing just six hits and striking-out three batters.
UST had six runners left on base. Garde went 3-for-3 at bat, being the only bright spot for the UST offense.
Game Two is set to be played on Friday, March 24 at 8:00am.