BLUE DYNASTY: Ateneo outduels La Salle for baseball three-peat

Anton Roxas on Mar 12, 2015 05:35 PM
Ateneo outduels La Salle to protect UAAP Baseball throne
The Ateneo Blue Batters complete a series sweep against La Salle in the Finals to bag their third straight UAAP Baseball Championship in Season 77.

It had the makings of a perfect comeback story.

Down by one at the top of the ninth, with a runner on first and only one out left, De La Salle University Team Captain Carly Laurel stepped up to the batter’s box, with a chance for a potential go-ahead hit. Staring him down from the pitcher’s mound was reigning MVP Andy Tan. It was the perfect match-up with the game on the line.

However, instead of a comeback story, the birth of a dynasty materialized as Laurel’s groundball was picked up by shortstop Adriane Bernardo who quickly delivered the ball to Ryan Tionloc at first base for the winning defensive play.

For the second straight year, Ateneo de Manila University swept De La Salle University in the Finals, after winning Game 2 of the UAAP Season 77 Baseball Finals, 3-2 on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

This was the fourth straight year for Ateneo in the Finals and third straight championship.

“This was the most difficult title series. The pressure was higher this year,” said Ateneo Team Manager Randy Dizer.

La Salle started off the game aggressively, tallying a run in each of the first two innings for an early 2-0 lead. But, the Blue Batters would make their presence felt, as Matt Laurel hit a 1 RBI single at the bottom of the third.

In the sixth inning, disaster struck for La Salle, as a throwing error allowed Ateneo to score two more runs to take the lead.

Miguel Dumlao started for Ateneo as the pitcher and managed to tally four strikeouts.

“My rookies delivered. I started (Miguel) Dumlao. I was only asking two or three innings from him. The plan was to start Dumlao, put in Andy and then finish with Paolo (Macasaet). But, he was able to stretch it to five innings,” said Dizer.

Tan replaced Dumlao at the top of the 6th and closed the game out for Ateneo. The graduating senior was named tournament MVP for the second straight year after the game.

“It feels great. Throughout my five years, I’ve seen the program develop from being a team that struggled to get into a winning grove and then becoming champions. During my sophomore year, we made the Finals but lost to NU. Next came the three-peat. It was nice to see the program develop and grow with the guys as well.”

Aside from Tan, Matt Laurel took home a couple of awards including Best Slugger, Most RBIs (13), and Most Homeruns (3).

Other awardees include Jose Miguel San Juan of UP (Best Hitter), Dino Imperial of DLSU (Most RBIs – 13), and Boo Barandiaran (Best Pitcher and Rookie of the Year).

When asked what Tan will miss the most about playing in the UAAP, the back-to-back MVP had this to say:

“The experience of seeing the new faces that come in each year and realizing that you have a new role. I realized this year, that I was a super senior and that I could lead the team and share my experiences to the new guys who have a lot of years ahead of them.”

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