ATENEO leaned on ace Paulo Macasaet to hold off University of Santo Tomas, 9-2, on Tuesday in Game One of the UAAP Season 79 baseball finals at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Macasaet, a former UAAP juniors MVP and named Best Pitcher last year, worked seven splendid innings where he gave up just two runs and five hits to keep the Blue Eagles in control.
He also silenced the Golden Sox's bats long enough for the Blue Eagles to finally put the game away with a four-run burst in the seventh inning.
The win moved Ateneo within a win from wrapping up the best-of-three series and reclaiming the championship it won thrice in a row from 2013 but lost to rival La Salle last season.
“Actually, it was not dominant. In the beginning, it was not. Remember, the scores that we made were all walks and supposed to be unearned. When they were able to adjust, lumabas na,” said Ateneo coach Randy Dizer.
Game Two is scheduled on Friday, 12 noon, also at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
UST starter Ian Llave issued three consecutive bases-loaded walks in the third on Marco Mallari, Javi Macasaet, and Ryan Hilario to give Ateneo a 4-1 lead.
Javi Macasaet also drilled a two-run single in Ateneo’s four-run seventh.