MANILA, Philippines – After back-to-back defeats, National University (NU) recovered by crushing University of the Philippines (UP), 10-1, in the Philippine Baseball League (PBL) on Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
It was the Bulldogs' first triumph in the PBL, while the Fighting Maroons suffered a third consecutive defeat.
NU was coming off a close loss to unbeaten De La Salle University before earning the breakthrough win.
"Ang sabi ko kailangan naming ma-refocus sa game, kasi natalo kami kahapon because 'yung errors. Sabi ko kailangan nating magpakita ng magandang depensa, para ma-complement 'yung hitting natin," said NU head coach Egay Delos Reyes.
The Bulldogs followed their game plan to the tee, as they responded early at bat, taking advantage of UP's defensive miscues.
The result was a six-run onslaught in the second inning that turned out to be the defining inning for the Bulldogs.
It started despite dealing with two outs as UP starting pitcher Kenneth Marinas gave the free pass to Clarion Santos before three straight hits scored four for the Bulldogs.
NU then added insurance runs in the next few innings to seal their maiden win.
It was a much-needed triumph for the Bulldogs, who are looking to regain their form after dropping to the cellar of the UAAP last year.
"Kailangan magpakita rin tayo image na hindi tayo basta-basta mai-intimidate," said Delos Reyes.
"Morale-boosting sa kanila going into the UAAP because UAAP is three weeks to go na lang. Maganda na makita nila na mananalo at kahit sino kaya nilang labanan," he added.
Meanwhile, Adamson University scored a massive upset of Ateneo de Manila University, 15-2, to take its second straight win.
The first inning was huge from the reigning UAAP champions, breaking Marco Mallari's defense with five runs on five hits, all of them singles.
Following a run from the Blue Eagles at the top of the third, the Soaring Falcons detonated eight more runs to pull away for good.
Lexter Carandang produced a booming triple to the right field to score slugger Christian Maigue capping of the offensive avalanche. The latter earlier sent two home himself after a huge hit in the previous sequence.
In the third game, the Itakura Parts Philippines Corporation Nationals bounced back and took their third win, after taking down University of Santo Tomas, 8-4.
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