Dolphins sweep Sharks, clinch Series 9 crownBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CEBU completed its long march back to glory by crushing three-time defending champion Manila, 6-1, yesterday to clinch the Baseball Philippines Series 9 title at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Dolphins, who last won the title three years ago in Series 4, were hardly threatened in the second match of the best-of-three championship series, scoring insurance runs in the seventh and the ninth innings behind Lorenzo Ubungen’s solid hitting and the fine display on the mound by their relief pitchers.
After a scrambling 8-6 win in Game 1 Saturday, 8-6, in a tight contest, the Dolphins limited the Sharks to a single run that tied the match at 1-all in the lower third before wrapping up the series with two-run explosions in the seventh and ninth.
“I have full confidence in my team and they delivered at crunchtime,” said Cebu team manager Isaac Bacarisas. “We are all reaping the fruits of hard work. It feels good to become champions again and beating Manila at that.”
It was the third title for the Dolphins, counting their first championship in Series 2 in 2008.
Ubungen, who also pitched while delivering the key hits in Game 1, capped Cebu’s 10-hit onslaught with a run-scoring single in the night to handily win the Finals Most Valuable Player award.
It wasn’t that bad for the Sharks though as the Harbour Centre-backed squad still made it to the championship despite losing its key players to the national team due to a fallout between the organizing Community Sports and the Philippine Amateur Baseball Philippines (Paba).
The Paba recalled its national players from the league, including the core of the Manila team which held sway in the league for the past three seasons, winning three straight titles.
The Sharks managed to keep up with the competition and even toppled Dumaguete in the semifinal playoffs despite the Unibikers’ twice-to-beat advantage.
Dumaguete settled for third after beating Alabang, 6-4, earlier.
Dumaguete’s Iking Jimenez was later named Best Manager of the season, while the Unibikers’ Ferdinand Liguayan copped the Best Pitcher award.
Tino Ubungen of Alabang won the Home Run King title after blasting three home runs in the series, including two in a single inning last June 10 at Clark Field. Teammate Adrian Bernardo picked up the Most Runs Batted In and Best Hitter awards. The Most Stolen Bases award went to the Sharks’ Jarus Inobio.
Joennard Pareja of Cebu was hailed MVP of the elimination round, batting .300 to go along with his 17 RBIs, while teammate Miggy Corcuera received the Jun Bernardino Award for sportsmanship.
ALABANG 020 000 200 4 5 4
DUMAGUETE 010 000 14-x 6 8 4
CEBU 001 100 202 6 10 1
MANILA 001 000 000 1 7 3