MANILA, Philippines – Almost but not quite.
National University foiled Ateneo’s bid for a first baseball title with a thrilling 9-8 win Tuesday in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 75 baseball Finals at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Blue Eagles found themselves just three outs away from the plum before the defending champion Bulldogs rallied from 6-8 down to forge a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday.
MJ Gante pounced on a throwing error by Adrian Bernardo before Jhonel Tolosa converted on a base hit, sending Mark Lumbres home that tied the match at 8.
Russell dela Cruz completed NU’s comeback on a walkoff hit that allowed Tolosa to go back to home base.
In last season’s finals, NU won the title despite trailing, 0-1.
And head coach Saki Bacarisas sees a similar finish to this year following his team’s rally.
“Hangga’t hindi pa tapos yung third out, hindi pa masasabi ang panalo. Kukunin pa namin ito, nakakadena pa ito.” said Bacarisas. “Naniniwala ako sa batting order ko.”
Dela Cruz finished with four hits with an RBI to boot, while reigning MVP Aries Oruga also delivered for NU with seven strike outs.