ATENEO started well and finished stronger to hand Itakura Parts Philippines Corporation Nationals its first loss, 10-7, in the Philippine Baseball League on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Javi Macasaet punched in a 2-RBI double to start the offensive barrage for Ateneo before the Nationals found the answer in the third inning to snatch the lead at 3-2. A six-run binge in the fourth to sixth innings put the Blue Eagles in control.
"Yung usual plan lang namin is to stay ahead. We have to maintain our confidence pa rin, and dapat yung palo namin tuluy-tuloy pa rin," said first-year Ateneo coach Bocc Bernardo.
Rod Bitong's sacrifice fly to the right field brought in three runs in the sixth inning as IPPC also committed a fielding error.
Nacho Lozano retired the last three batters.
"We have to stay relaxed, kasi nga this team is a really good team. They knew how to come back and take advantage of any situation. Kaya kung makakakuha kami ng paraan, kunin namin," Bernardo added.
La Salle bagged its third straight win of the tournament, taking down the National University, 6-4.
The Bulldogs scored four runs in the fourth inning to snag the lead at 4-2, but the Green Batters responded with a run and three more runs in their turn at-bat in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively to take the lead for good.
Senior pitcher Diego Lozano took care of business at the mound in the last two in innings, taking down NU's last six batters, three of which on strikeouts.
Adamson scored its first win, blasting University of Sto. Tomas, 15-9.