Sharks forge BP Series 9 title clash with DolphinsBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THREE-TIME defending champion Manila completed a two-game sweep of Dumaguete yesterday to arrange a championship showdown with Cebu in the Baseball Philippines Series 9 at Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Manila Sharks pulled off a 12-10 decision over the Unibikers in a game halted for 30 minutes because of a sudden downpour to cap their domination of a semifinal series, where Dumaguete started with a twice-to-beat advantage.
The Cebu Dolphins, the top semifinalists who also enjoyed a twice-to-beat bonus like the Unibikers, crushed the Alabang Tigers, 17-9, as they atoned for a 9-6 setback to the same team last week.
The Sharks and the Dolphins start their best-of-three title series on July 14. The league holds an All-Star game on Sunday.
Manila, which downed Dumaguete, 6-1, last Sunday to force the winner-take-all match, was ahead at 12-10 in the bottom of the eighth inning when the rains came. When the skies cleared, the Sharks held on to clinch the win as the Unibikers went down in 1-2-3 order on top of the ninth.
Cebu team manager Isaac Bacarisas said they are ready for the championship although their ace pitcher, the multiawarded lefty Joseph Orillana, may not be available since he is still recuperating from a knee injury three weeks ago.
“We are ready, although our only problem is Joseph. If he can play, we can win (the title) 100 percent. But if he’s not, we have a 70-percent chance,” said Bacari-sas, whose wards won Series 2 and Series 4 but lost last year’s title to the Sharks.
Cebu uncorked five runs in the opening frame and continued its onslaught throughout the lopsided match.
“I know that we can win at least one of the two games, that’s the significance of having a twice-to-beat edge,” said Bacarisas. “The boys are very confident.”
Cebu’s Christian Maghanoy stepped up in the absence of Orillana, limiting Alabang to five hits in five innings.
CEBU—510 700 040—17 12 3
ALABANG—011 020 050—9 15 7
DUMAGUETE—310 000 330—10 18 2
MANILA—010 405 20x—12 12 1