MANILA, Philippines—The De La Salle Green Batters continued their surge in the 2019 Philippine Baseball League, taking down the IPPC Nationals, 11-8, at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium on Saturday morning.
With their fourth win in a row, the Green Batters, last season's UAAP runners-up, clinched the first semifinal spot in the seven-team tournament organized by the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association.
In the second game, the UP Fighting Maroons picked up their first win of the tournament, snapping the Adamson Soaring Falcons' two-game winning streak, 8-5.
"At least, na-secure na namin ’yung final 4. Ang importante is ’yung winning attitude nila at ’yung kumpyansa, makuha na nila bago pa mag-UAAP," shared La Salle head coach Joseph Orillana. "Every game should be like a championship to them bago pumasok ang season."
Facing a high-powered squad, La Salle jumped on IPPC early, connecting on seven hits in the very first inning. During that rally, Philippines ace Vladi Eguia gave up three doubles and a single, capped by a two-RBI double by first baseman Tuwi Park.
"Du’n sa game namin sa IPPC, we were able to jump on them, scoring seven runs. Importante ’yun against the national team dahil anything can happen," added Orillana, also a member of the national team. "Kaya hindi sila nataranta nu’ng nagra-run ’yung kabila."
La Salle led by as many as seven runs, 10-3, heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
IPPC outfielder Wilfredo de Guzman tried to spark a late-game comeback, connecting on two hits in the last three innings that led to four RBIs. However, it proved to be too late as the lead built by Park and Iggy Escano proved to be too much.
The Green Batters racked up 15 hits in the game, with reigning UAAP Athlete of the Year Kiko Gesmundo finishing with three. Escano, Diego Lozano, and Boo Barandian had two each as well.
Lozano earned the win for La Salle, giving up just one hit in three innings pitched. Though Arvin Herrera and Luis Minana struggled to contain the Nationals, Gesmundo closed the game in the last two innings.
In the UP-Adamson game, Jose Chavez and Patricio Neri had three and two RBIs respectively in the game while transferee Kouichi Igarashi went 3-of-4 at-bat.
To close out the day, the NU Bulldogs racked up their second straight win after storming back from 3-0 down to stun the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 6-3.
With the game knotted at 3-all, Clairon Santos blasted a go-ahead, 2-RBI triple in the seventh inning.
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