Laurel shines as Blue Eagles win UAAP baseball finals openerBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines – Matt Laurel hit a homer in the seventh inning and Ateneo blasted defending champion National University, 6-2, in game one of the UAAP season 75 men’s baseball tournament Friday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Blue Eagle Batters moved into a game of reedeming itself from last season’s missed swing at the title against the Bulldogs.
Ateneo also triumphed in the series opener last season, only to wilt in the ensuing matches in the face of fiery efforts from MVP Aries Oruga and the Bulldogs.
Laurel lived up to his title as the league’s reigning homerun king, and head coach Emer Barandoc couldn’t help but marvel at his ability to make the big plays.
Laurel gave the Blue Eagles a 4-2 lead and never looked back.
“May one-time, big-time siya sa paluan,” said Barandoc, who hopes to avoid any meltdowns and wrap the series up in game two set on Tuesday.
“We won’t let what happened last year happen again. If we play this way, we have a chance,” said Barandoc.
An RBI from rookie Ryon Tionloc in the bottom sixth allowed Ateneo to overhaul a two-run deficit to a 3-2 advantage.