UAAP: Green Batters drop three-peat chance, bow down to NU after 4-2 loss in Game Two of the Finals

Despite a hard-fought battle, the DLSU Green Batters were dethroned by the NU Bulldogs, 4-2, in Game Two of the best-of-three Finals, ending their three-peat dreams yesterday, April 21, at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.

Agon de Vera had a quality all-around performance, pitching six innings while also contributing a run batted in (RBI) in the losing effort.

Staying in the game

In danger of having their three-peat dreams fade away, the Green Batters looked to strike early, electing to hit first. However, it was the Bulldogs who set the tone in the bottom of the first inning. With NU catcher Kent Altarejos at first base after a fielder’s choice, de Vera gave up a second walk to Kenneth Maulit to put two on with two outs. This was followed by a crucial two-RBI single by Kevin Maulit to draw first blood for NU in the game.

Following the shaky first inning, De Vera recovered and shut out the Bulldogs in the next three innings. On the hitting side, the Green Batters finally gained some ground in the top of the third after de Vera struck an RBI double to center field that brought Patrick Rivera home from first base to cut the deficit to one, 2-1.

Gaining momentum, the Taft-based squad continued to hit well in the top of the fourth; as with Marco Micael at second after a fielder’s choice and JM Segui at first due to a hit-by-pitch walk, Joseph Alcontin hit an RBI single to keep the dream of extending the series, leveling the game at 2-all.

Struggling at the finish

Battling injury and fatigue, de Vera continued to tough it out on the mound for the Green-and-White. With several of his teammates going down earlier in the season, he shared, “It was time for me to step up. No choice na, eh. Buti naman tinulungan ako ng mga teammates ko.” After starting the bottom of the fifth slow by giving up three balls, the sophomore responded by filling up the count to retire Gio Gorpido as DLSU kept the score at 2-all with consecutive outs.

(It’s a good thing my teammates helped me.)

Come the bottom of the sixth, de Vera managed another strikeout but a fielding error put La Salle in a tough spot with runners on first and third, pushing Head Coach Joseph Orillana to call for a timeout. However, the Bulldogs were able to go up as the infield struggles piled up for the Green Batters, notching a double steal on home from Cyril Antipolo and second from Kenneth Maulit for NU to take the lead, 3-2. The latter then rounded home to bring the lead to 4-2 after a single by Herald Tenorio.

DLSU managed to stop the bleeding defensively, with Joshua Pineda taking over pitching duties and de Vera moving to shortstop—then eventually first base after an aggravated hamstring injury—but eventually faltered to make up for the deficit they faced. The game eventually ended with runners stranded on first and third after catcher JR Samuel was struck out to end the top of the ninth inning, 4-2.

With their inspiring title-defense run coming to an unfortunate end, seniors Segui, Micael, Pineda, Shinji Kajihara, Vince Flores, Joey Dunglao, Eric Garcia, and Amiel Baloro each made a ceremonial lap around the diamond to cap off their collegiate careers. 

As one of the senior players on the roster, Micael expressed his pride that the team managed to gel together and get on the same page throughout the season. Despite falling short, he stated with his head held up high, “I’m proud of the boys…we all gave it our best. That’s why at the end, we’re crying. It just got away.” 

With the curtains closing on his Green Batters stint, he thanked the Lasallian community: “Thank you so much, [you’re] the ones that keep the joy in sports. [You] give us so much energy.”

Giving it all for his alma mater—playing through injury and doing whatever was needed from him by his team—de Vera also conveyed his gratitude to the ones who supported the Green Batters in their inspiring run. “Unang una, maraming salamat sa OSD (Office of Sports Development) family. Magpapasalamat din ako sa mga [physical therapists] naminKung wala sila dito, di kami makakaabot sa Finals.”

(First of all, thank you to the OSD family. I’d also like to thank our physical therapists. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have reached the Finals.)

The national team standout then ended by thanking the fans who supported the team from day one, “Sa buong Lasallian community, thankful kami. Kahit naglalaro kami ng rough times, andun sila, nag-support sa La Salle. Super thankful ako and malaki ‘yung impact nila sa game natin.”

(To the whole Lasallian community, we’re thankful. Even if we’re playing in rough times, they were there, supporting La Salle. I’m super thankful and their impact on our game was big.)

Diego Manzano

By Diego Manzano

Aren Reyes

By Aren Reyes

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