THE ATENEO de Manila Blue Batters reclaimed the UAAP baseball title after the UST Golden Sox ran out of steam, 14-12, in a grueling 12-inning Game 2 of the finals this Season 79 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium Friday.
With the game tied at 11-all heading into the 12th inning, fatigue caught up with the Golden Sox, who played for almost five hours, after the Blue Batters scored three consecutive runs from Jose Maria Tantuico, Marco Mallari and Juan Alvaro Macasaet to secure their fourth crown.
UST attempted a comeback with Marlon Gonzales’ run but Macasaet’s prolific play at the mound put the game beyond the Golden Sox’s reach.
“Napagod na ako pati ‘yung mga bata. Nonetheless, maganda ‘yung pinakita ng team ngayong season. Kinulang lang talaga sa puso saka nagka-errors,” UST head coach Jeffrey Santiago told the Varsitarian.
This season was a major turnaround for UST, which plunged to fifth last year, as it had its best finish since winning the championship in 2011.
Down by six points going to the bottom of the sixth inning, UST tied the game at 9-all after Kirk Daquis, Alwen Calbang, Mark Perez and Ron Christian Dela Cruz combined for six runs.
Ateneo scored three runs in the third inning to draw first blood before UST’s Dela Cruz, Daquis and Noriel Valencia completed all bases in the following inning to force a 3-all deadlock.
The Blue Batters capitalized on UST’s faulty defense as Conrado Banzon, Marco Mallari, Christopher Hilario, Lorenzo Ramos, Daniel Laurel and Juan Alvaro Macasaet powered six runs bridging the fifth and sixth innings, 9-3.