MANILA, Philippines - Defending champion National University unloaded three runs off three hits in the ninth inning to pull off a huge come-from-behind 9-8 win over Ateneo yesterday and forge a rubber match for the UAAP Season 75 baseball crown at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Down 6-8 going to their final turn at bat, the Bulldogs never gave up and made one huge fightback behind Mar Gante, Mark Lumbres and Jhondel Tolosa to tie the series, 1-1.
Ateneo took the series’ opener, 6-2, and stood just three outs away from bagging a historic first title. Now they have to slug it out with the Bulldogs one last time on Friday in a winner-take-all Game Three.
“Like I’ve been saying, it ain’t over until the last out of the last inning,” said NU coach Saki Bacarisas in Filipino.
As the Ateneo bullpen was ready to erupt in anticipation of their winning moment, the Bulldogs came out barking and reached scoring position one after another in the last frame.
Gante received a walk from Ateneo pitcher Miguel Salud then pounced on a throwing error by AdMU shortstop Adriane Bernardo to storm home and cut the deficit to one, 7-8.
“We were confident with our batters, they can make timely hits. When Gante got on first base, I knew we could depend on our batters to make runs,” Bacarisas said.