CLARK, Pampanga – The wild race for the lead in Baseball Philippines Series 9 continued Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to a pair of thrilling victories, the Dumaguete Uni-Bikers and the Cebu Dolphins forge a tie for the top spot after the completion of the hectic six-game matches at the Parade Grounds here.
Dumaguete rallied from a two-run deficit to defeat the Batangas Bulls, 4-3, while the playing coach Saki Bacarisas drilled a go-ahead hit as Cebu downed the Manila Sharks, 6-4.
The Uni-Bikers and the Dolphins share identical 7-3 slates as the league takes a one-week break to give way to the baseball competitions of the Philippine National Games.
Manila dropped to third at 6-4 after suffering its second straight loss.
The Taguig Patriots bounced back from its morning loss to the Alabang Tigers when they erupted for seven runs in the first en route to a 19-4 rout that lasted just seven innings due to a mercy rule.
Taguig climbed into a tie with Batangas for fifth at 3-7 but Alabang still holds the sole possession of fourth spot at 4-6.
The Uni-Bikers were on the verge of an upset loss to the Bulls when they trailed 3-1 with one-out in the eighth inning.
But Arvin Plaza, whose RBI single in the 10th inning propelled Dumaguete to an 8-7 win over the Manila Sharks in the morning, came through again when he drilled a two-run single scored Lloyd Arago and Tsuyoshi Horibata.
In the ninth, the Uni-Bikers loaded the bases after Pelos Remollo and Ferdinand Liguayan reached safely on a pair of errors while Dio Remollo drew a walk. On the next at-bat, Arago grounded out to second, scoring Remollo for the go-ahead run.
Meanwhile, Bacarisas played the hero’s role as Cebu survived a pair of Manila comebacks.
Bacarisas, who starred in the now-defunct Philippine Baseball League in the early-80′s, singled to left field to score Herxel Fortunato from third as the Dolphins grabbed a 5-4 lead with one-out in the top half of the eighth.
Ram Casey Alipio settled the final tally when his sacrifice fly scored Joennard Pareja from third.
The Sharks rallied twice when Edward Landicho hit a two-run homer in the fifth while Emerson Atilano hit an RBI single as the Sharks scored two in the sixth to tie the game.
On the other hand, Christian de Leon and Jeff Hardillo led the Taguig in the onslaught of Alabang.
De Leon had four hits and four RBIs while Hardillo went 3-5 with three RBIs. The two combined for 10 total bases as the Patriots walloped the Tigers.