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    Manila, Alabang nines keep finals bids alive

    Jun 24, 2012
    Manila's Kenneth Natividad slides home safe under the tag of Dumaguete's Dio Remollo.

    DEFENDING champion Manila and Alabang lived to fight another day after defeating the top two seeds on Sunday in the semifinals of Baseball Philippines Series 9 at the Rizal ballpark.

    The Manila Sharks, needing to overcome a twice-to-win handicap in the semifinals, relied on their pitching staff and a four-run fourth inning to defeat the second-ranked Dumaguete Uni-bikers, 6-1.

    Tino Ubungen and Matt Laurel slammed back-to-back home runs in the first inning to lift the Alabang Tigers to a 9-6 win over the top-seed Cebu Dolphins. The Tigers also need to beat the Dolphins one more time to clinch a finals slot.

    Manila's veteran pitcher Tawi Delos Reyes had four innings of one-hit ball before turning over the reins to Jayson Dimacutac, who yielded six hits to Dumaguete’s high-powered offense.

    Manila finally made it to the scoreboard in the fourth, scoring four runs to complement Delos Reyes’ pitching. After Edward Landicho and Ferdinand Badrina walked, they advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Francis Gesmundo to set up Gian Llaguno, who singled home Landicho.

    Badrina scored home Culubong, who also crossed home plate on a single by Emerson Atilano following a steal to home plate by Mark Ong that made it 4-0.

    Delos Reyes issued his only hit of the game on a one-out double by Mike Gante to score Pelos Remollo, who drew a lead-off walk. Delos Reyes was replaced by Dimacutac and never allowed another Dumaguete run.

    Ubungen blasted a homer to left after a Carlos Laurel single followed by a shot across the right field fence by Laurel to open up a 3-0 lead.

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    Despite a two-run answer by the Dolphins in the bottom of the first, Ubungen also drilled run-scoring hits in the fifth and sixth innings to break the game wide open for Alabang.

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    Manila's Kenneth Natividad slides home safe under the tag of Dumaguete's Dio Remollo.
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