TAGUIG—The long wait is over.
The Manila Sharks leaned on Jon Jon Robles’ two-hit complete game to finally snatch their first-ever crown with a 2-1 victory over the Cebu Dolphins Saturday in the Dunkin’ Donuts Baseball Philippines Series 6 at the Felino Marcelino Baseball Stadium.
The 24-year-old Robles fanned 10 batters and retired the final 24 batters of the Dolphins in a no-relief job to be adjudged as the Finals Most Valuable Player.
National player Nino Tator had three doubles in a four-of-four outing and was responsible for giving the Sharks the go-ahead run with a two-bagger in the fifth inning that settled the score line.
“The team deserves this title,” said Manila coach Jhoel Palanog. “The team made a lot of sacrifices. They trusted each other. Now, we are the champions.”
Manila erased two previous finals setbacks with the win. The Sharks dropped the Series 2 crown to the Cebu Dolphins and the Series 5 plum to the Batangas Bulls.
Tator gave Manila the go-ahead run after he doubled to left field to score Christian Galedo, who singled and stole second before chalking up his second run of the game.
Earlier, Galedo tied the game on an RBI single by first baseman Marvin Malig after he reached first on a throwing error and stepped third on a double by Tator.
But it was an all-Robles show.
The two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player yielded a run in the third inning but that was because Malig preferred to put out Ram Casey Alipio rather than throwing to home plate in an attempt to put out Cebu pitcher Edmer Del Socorro. Instead, Del Socorro scored for Cebu’s only run in the game.
Del Socorro actually doubled before he scored but that was the last time Robles allowed any hit.
The 10 strikeouts included a juncture where the former Czech Republic pro had six straight K’s at one point during the fourth to sixth inning.
Centerfielder Jonash Ponce, who made the game-winning RBI in Cebu’s 10-9 win, was also silenced by Robles as he only had a double in the first inning, the only other hit Robles allowed in the game.
Even Cebu coach Isaac Bacarisas couldn’t find an antedote for Robles as the Dolphins mentor pinch-hit in the ninth inning but grounded out after three pitches.
“The trust that the team is giving to me, it’s just overwhelming. I’m just happy that the team trusts me,” said Robles.
After Bacarisas was put out and second baseman Fulgencio Rances grounded out, Joseph Orillana lined to second base but was easily caught by Francis Candela for the final out.
The long-overdue Sharks celebration ensued.
Cebu gave all it can give under the circumstances.
The Dolphins were without their best pitcher in Orillana, who was ineligible to pitch after surpassing the 50-pitch count in Game 2, so they went with Del Socorro.
Del Socorro actually had a good account of himself striking out eight batters but allowed eight hits in the game.
But it was the Sharks’ day for this one.