Three-time defending champion Manila entered the playoffs on the right track as the Sharks defeated top-seed Cebu, 3-2, Sunday at the close of the elimination round of the Baseball Philippines Series 9 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Pitchers Jayson Dimacutac and Warren Vispo allowed seven hits and left nine runners on base while Paco Tantuico and Emerson Atilano slammed RBI hits to down the Dolphins to finish the eliminations with a 9-6 win-loss card.
Manila had already set up a semifinal meeting in the Community Sports Inc.-organized league with second-seed Dumaguete Uni-bikers but wanted to go into the playoffs on a good note.
“We know it’s a no-bearing game but we wanted to enter the playoffs on a winning note so that we could get our morale back,” said Manila coach Jhoel Palanog, whose team looks to overcome the Uni-bikers’ twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
After a lead-off single by Jennald Pareja and a double by Jarus Inobio in the fourth, a sacrifice fly by Tantuico scored Pareja before Inobio advanced home on a catching error.
Cebu’s Lorenzo Ubungen slammed a home run to right field in the sixth inning off Dimacutac but had a relatively fine outing allowing only four hits in a six-inning start.
Manila made it a 3-1 game in the seventh when Atilano singled to score Francis Gesmundo, who set up that run with a one-out double.
The Dolphins decreased the deficit to one run when playing coach Isaac Bacarisas belted a two-out single to scored Ericson Villame but Vispo regained his form forcing a flyout to Nico Uichico to end the game.
The league is sponsored by Gatorade, Emperador Light, Clark Development Corp., Harbour Centre, Philippine Transmarine Corp., Summit Water and Eagle Sky Inc. with backing from Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association and the Philippine Umpires Association.
For more information, log on to www.baseballphilippines.com and www.facebook.com/baseballphilippines.