UAAP Season 81 baseball: DLSU outlasts Ateneo, reclaims throne
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 05, 2019 05:16 PM
The DLSU Green Batters won their second title in four seasons and fifth overall baseball crown.
Kiko Gesmundo blasted a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning as De La Salle University edged Ateneo de Manila University, 11-9, in a thrilling ending to reclaim the crown Friday in the UAAP Season 81 baseball tournament.
The Green Batters then preserved Gesmundo's heroics with a double play at the bottom ninth that doused any hopes for the Blue Eagles to send the game to extra innings, sending the green-clad gallery into frenzy at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
"Nasa kanila na. Magde-determine ang larong ito sa mas gustong manalo. At pinatunayan nila iyon. Ang sabi ko, anytime, kaya nila iyon," said Joseph Orillana, a former De La Salle ace pitcher won won his second championship as a coach.
Winning their second title in four seasons, the Green Batters also claimed their fifth crown overall.
The title served as a fitting send-off for Finals MVP Gesmundo, Best Hitter Boo Barandiaran, Paulo Salud, Tuwi Park, Joaqui Bilbao, and Gabo Pineda, who all ended their career as winners.
De La Salle's Diego Lozano was named the Season MVP, Best Slugger with .842 and snagged the Most Home Runs plum with three, while his teammate Iggy Escaño won the Most RBIs award with 18 this season.
Ateneo rallied from a 5-9 deficit with four runs in the bottom of the eight as Dino Altomonte's pop-fly sent Javi Macasaet home to level, paving the way for an exciting finish.
Gesmundo had two RBIs and two runs, while Anton Acuña also had two RBIs for the Green Batters.
Arvin Herrera, the Green Batters' closer, delivered a strike out on the Blue Eagles' Gio Salvatierra in the bottom of the ninth before clinching the game with a double play.
Marco Mallari had three RBIs and two hits, Javi Macasaet came through with two RBIs and two hits, while Paolo Macasaet pitched for 6 1/3 innings and tallied five strikeouts for Ateneo.
La Salle won the series opener, 9-7, before dropping Game 2, 3-7, paving the way for the first-ever championship decider between the two fierce rivals.