FOR THE first time in six years, the UST Golden Sox will play in the finals after crushing the top-seed Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters, 9-4, in the UAAP Season 79 baseball tournament at the Rizal Memorial Stadium Sunday.
UST used a five-run fourth inning, highlighted by Kirk Daquis’ and Jayrome Kimilat’s conversions, to break a scoreless deadlock and pull away for good.
The Blue Batters scored two runs in the eighth inning, courtesy of Dino Almonte’s homerun which also sent Daniel Laurel back to the homeplate, to cut UST’s lead to four, 4-8. But Noriel Valencia’s conversion off an Ateneo catching error pushed the Golden Sox’s advantage to five.
“Nadagdagan ang pagsisikap ng team sa practice saka buo ang team. Lumabas na rin ang kanilang tunay na galing. Hindi pa rin kami magre-relax pero magtutuloy-tuloy pa rin kami para mag-champion,” UST head coach Jeffrey Santiago told the Varsitarian.
The Golden Sox took home the championship in 2011 but missed the finals since.
Ateneo scored back-to-back runs in the fifth inning to close the gap, 2-5. But a triple conversion from Valencia, Jefferson Vergara and Elijah Pagkaliwagan in the following inning put UST at an 8-2 advantage.
UST (7-2 slate) will try to keep its second-round record clean against the Adamson University on March 15, Wednesday, at the same venue.