UST tops PUP, boosts semis bid

Santo Tomas cut short Polytechnic University of the Philippines’ winning run with a masterful 7-3 victory yesterday and kept its flickering hopes alive for one of the semifinal round berths in Group B of the Cebuana Lhuillier National Intercollegiate Women’s Softball Championship at the Rosario Sports Complex in Pasig.

Malous Garde pitched a four-hit seven-inning game while her teammates complemented the effort with six connections off a pair of PUP hurlers as the Growling Tigresses collected their third victory in four times up, making the race for the Final-4 seats a wild and wooly affair between them and two other squads.

Slow-starting National University, which built a rich tradition in baseball and is now, likewise, trying to create its own kingdom in softball, blasted Ateneo, 12-1, in only six innings and joined UST, PUP and, to a certain extent, last year’s runner-up University of the East in the frenetic battle for the next round of the tournament sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier, Cebuana Pera Padala, Le Soleil de Boracay, Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions, Just Jewels and Phiten.

The win enabled the Tigresses to catch up with the erstwhile unbeaten PUP softbelles at the top spot in Group B with identical 3-win. 1-loss cards, while the Lady Bulldogs, who debuted with a 14-1 loss to UST was in third with a 2-1 slate.

The Lady Warriors, who won their first two games and lost the last two, will have to wait for the results of the remaining elimination round games today and tomorrow for any chances of advancing to the semis.

NU has chances against Central Luzon State University of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija today but only has 50-50 chances against PUP tomorrow. To remain in contention, UE must win over CLSU and hope PUP and UST lose their remaining games.

Meanwhile, Rizal Technological University of Mandaluyong joined defending champion Adamson in the semis following a 10-0 shutout of St. Louis University of Baguio.

CLSU finally barged into the win column following two straight defeats with a five-inning 11-4 rout of Ateneo. The Lady Eagles suffered their fourth straight loss.

Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines president Jean Henri Lhuillier expressed his satisfaction over the results of the tournament, especially the showing of teams representing the State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association and provincial teams SLU and CLSU.

“Results of games featuring provincial and SCUAA teams, which now beat the regular UAAP campaigners, particularly former reigning champion Adamson and ex-titlists UP, UE and UST are very encouraging as far as our aim of developing the sport on the grassroots level is concerned,” Lhuillier said.

“Developments we’re seeing here also mean that we have to continue with this particular program as well as organize more school tournaments, not only here in Metro Manila but also in the provinces,” he added.