La Salle exacts revenge on Ateneo to forge ‘Finals Rematch’

Anton Roxas on Feb 26, 2015 06:58 PM
La Salle exacts revenge on Ateneo to forge ‘Finals Rematch’
La Salle scored a morale-boosting win over Ateneo to seal a 'Finals Rematch' in the UAAP Season 77 Baseball tournament.

Needing a win to secure a return trip to the Finals, De La Salle University did not blink as it scored a morale-boosting win over two-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, 14-12 in their second round matchup in the UAAP Season 77 Baseball tournament last Thursday, February 26, 2015 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The Taft Avenue batters set the tone for the game in the very first inning, scoring seven early runs with sophomore Nacho Cojuangco on the mound for the Blue Batters. Last year’s MVP, Andy Tan would replace Cojuangco at the top of the 3rd, but La Salle would go on to tally five more runs ?including three in the fourth inning.

Entering the ninth and final inning, Ateneo found a sliver of hope as Ryon Tionloc stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. However, at this point of the game, a well-rested Carlos Mu?oz, was installed as the closing pitcher for La Salle.

Tionloc drew a walk, allowing the Blue Batters to score. Moments later, La Salle gave up another point due to a catching error.

Ultimately, La Salle’s defense hung tough as it secured I?igo Untalan’s pop fly to make the victory official.

DLSU Head Coach Joseph Orillana was pleased with the result of the game.

“Malaki yung tiwala ko sa team na ma ho hold nila yung last inning. Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Just take it one out at a time. Wag sila ma pressure.’ Apat yung lamang namin.”

After going 3-2 in the first round, La Salle caught fire, winning their next games including this win against Ateneo to push their record to 7-2. They still have one more game to play, a matchup with the University of the Philippines, which was previously postponed due to insufficient lighting. Should they beat UP, La Salle will finish the elimination round with the highest record for the second straight year.

“Maganda yung comeback namin sa second round. Tuloy-tuloy and panalo,” said Orillana, who also stated that he feels that La Salle will give Ateneo a better fight in the Finals this year.

“Natuto sila (La Salle players) sa nangyari sa Finals last year. Mas experienced na sila.”

Ateneo swept La Salle in two games in the Finals last season to win their second straight UAAP Baseball Championship.

The Blue Batters won their first seven games of the elimination round this season to qualify for the Finals for the fourth straight year. They finished the elimination round with a 7-3 record after losing their last three games.

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