MANILA, Philippines – In their first foray in the Philippine Baseball League (PBL), the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Lawin took flight and soared.
Air Force mounted a seven-run lead after the third inning to take the fight out of the Thunderz All-Star squad, eventually winning 7-4 to claim the 2019 PBL Open title on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Veteran national team pitcher Romeo Jasmin was virtually unbreachable throughout the match. Despite allowing nine hits in the seven innings played, the former Adamson University standout anchored his defense in stranding eight men at the bases.
After a scoreless first frame, the white shirts broke through, thanks to Aids Bernardo's consecutive hits, before Junmar Diarao punched in a two-RBI single to take the 2-0 lead. Jonjon Robles then drove in another hit to send Diarao home to end the frame at 3-0.
In the third inning, PAF pulled away after scoring four more runs, capitalizing on the errors of the Thunderz shortstops. Robles got his second hit of the day as he put the game out of reach at 7-0.
"Siguro dahil nasa military kami, iba 'yung samahan namin. Iba 'yung chemistry," said Jasmin. "Bale kasi preparation ko na rin to para sa SEA Games. 'Yun lang naman."
National team pitchers, playing outfield this match, paced the orange-shirts' offense as Vlads Eguia ended at 2-on-3 hitting and Jerome Yenson had a hit and two runs.
In the bronze medal match, the Adamson Soaring Falcons consolidated their Group B win over groupmates and UAAP rivals National University Bulldogs, 4-2.
Right fielder Patrick Espinosa had a perfect 3-of-3 batting as Lexter Carandang finished with 2-of-3 hitting and scoring two of these four runs.
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