Ateneo de Manila University overpowered National University, 11-5, to open its UAAP Season 85 Baseball campaign on a high note, Sunday, Mar. 12, at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
Back in Season 81, the Blue Eagles finished in second place and no one from that team is on the roster for this season with only three seniors remaining in left fielder Geoff Magsadia, infielder Aloi Tuprio, and first baseman Joaquin Alcaraz.
“Well, it was hard to prepare for NU because hindi namin sila kilala. We haven’t seen them even in high school due to COVID. We just controlled what we can control, especially since we have a young team,” said Ateneo head coach Bocc Bernardo, who is also celebrating his 33rd birthday today.
Despite a change in personnel, the hitting Ateneo is known for was displayed in their season debut.
Rookie shortstop Enzo Montemayor, a product of Manila Waldorf School, led the Ateneo offense with three hits that led to an RBI with a couple of stolen bases.
UAAP Season 82 Boys’ MVP Matt San Juan, first baseman Keej Capati, and catcher Dax Fabella all made good accounts of themselves in their debuts as well. Capati and Fabella all had two RBIs.
With the quartet leading the way, Ateneo jumped to an imposing 11-2 lead by the fifth inning.
Pitcher Josh De Juras also held the fort for Ateneo in the first six innings, fanning five NU batters and allowing just three hits. Ethan Mitchiener closed out the game.
“We have a good rotation of pitchers. Today, si Josh did a good job while Ethan also did well. Babaliktarin namin namin sila when we face UST on Wednesday,” said Bernardo.
It was a bad day for the NU bullpen led by MJ Carolino. A total of five pitchers were rotated by Bulldogs head coach Egay Delos Reyes in the contest.