Posted on 09 July 2009.
PHILIPPINES – The Batangas Bulls’ campaign in Baseball Philippines Series 5 mirrored the way how they totally demolished the Manila Sharks in the finals.
Completing one of the best performances in a single tournament, the Bulls completed the destruction of the Manila Sharks, 12-2, to claim the league’s Series 5 crown at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
With pitcher Vladimir Eguia putting the Manila batters at bay and the offense scattering a bunch of hits all day long, Batangas put an end to one of the most decisive routs in a best-of-three championship series to claim its second title in team history.
Eguia held the underdog Sharks to just five hits while striking out six batters in a no-relief effort to be adjudged as the Finals Most Valuable Player. The 20-year old lefty out of University of the Philippines was also rewarded as the circuit’s Best Pitcher.
But, that was only half of the story as Batangas peppered Manila pitchers Mick Natividad and Christian Galedo with 16 hits that resulted in a quick four-run binge in the second inning and six runs in the last two frames to clinch the sweep.
Batangas’ win put them alongside the Cebu Dolphins in an elite class as one of only two teams to capture two baseball championships. The then-Makati Mariners (now Alabang Tigers) are the other team that has bagged a title in league’s two-year history when they pulled off the feat in Series 1.
The Bulls were almost invincible as they posted a 13-1 record that saw them win all of the 10 games played in the classification round that saw national team players Vio Roxas, Junifer Pinero, Hashim Omandac and Chris Canlas getting handed with an indefinite suspension by the league midway into the tournament.
Their only loss came at the hands of the Dolphins in their first game of their semifinal series but Batangas shook off the shocking loss by winning the last three games en route to the crown.
“At first, we thought we were the underdogs but once we won our first seven or so games and the national team players got suspended, we felt that we can win it all,” said Batangas team manager Randy Dizer, who was named as Series 5’s best tactician.
Eguia, who was once named as the UAAP MVP when he led UP to its last title three years ago, threw 123 pitches despite having to the full distance because of the injury of the team’s other heralded hurler Romeo Jasmin.
The sidearm-throwing Jasmin, who started as the team’s rightfielder, immediately left the first inning after he pulled his left hamstring as he was attempting to reach first base safely. But it turned out to be a bright day for the Nueva Ecija native as the league organizers awarded him with the tournament’s MVP plum despite a batting average of .233 (seven hits in 30 at-bats) with three RBIs (runs-batted-in).
Jasmin, acquired in the offseason from the Alabang Tigers, rewarded his new team with solid performances for the squad during Series 5 that earned him raves from Dizer.
“When we got him, it really solidify our pitching rotation because it helped us rest our other pitchers,” Dizer said of Jasmin, a former UAAP MVP and Best Pitcher for two-time defending champion Adamson University.
Michael de Rossi and Jose Jose conspired during a four-run, four-hit second inning as they hit a pair of two-run hits to gain a 4-0 lead that started the Batangas’ scoring spree.
With the bases loaded and with no outs, de Rossi smashed a pitch by Natividad into left field to score Ericson Eguia and Justin Zialcita. Jose followed suit with a two-run single down the left field line that brought home Randy de Leon and de Rossi.
A pair of runs in the next two innings put the Bulls in front, 6-0, but Marvin Malig drilled a one-out single to right field that scored leadoff man Jennald Pareja and Christian Galedo to cut the margin to 6-2.
But Manila failed to capitalize more with two men on base as playing team manager Jhoel Palanog struck out to end the threat.
Batangas padded the lead to 10-2 on a four-run eight, thanks to a two-run single by Carlo Banzon and two of five errors made by the Sharks in that said frame.
Jojo Apura, who has been superb in the postseason, settled the final score on a two-run double with two outs in the ninth frame.
“Almost everyone delivered in this came plus hit came in a big way for us,” Dizer said.
The Bulls took the series opener, 13-4, last Sunday behind a seven-run fifth inning to set up another impressive showing against the Sharks’ side that lost RP team members Charlie Labrador, Nino Tator, Francis Candela and Rommel Roja.
Meanwhile, brothers Jay and Matt Laurel were two other major individual winners of Series 5. Jay bagged two awards, winning the Most RBI and Best Hitter honors while Matt smashed six homers in the tournament to be named as the Home Run King.
Dumaguete’s Saxon Omandac took the Most Stolen Bases award while Jojo Abaa was teh Best Umpire.
Article and Photo courtesy of Jones Terrado/Baseball Philippines