Manila edges Cebu; seizes baseball lead

06/06/2010 - MANILA NIPPED CEBU, 8-7, Saturday to claim the solo lead in the Dunkin’ Donuts Baseball Philippine Series at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

Veteran Bambol Servo belted a decisive hit in the final inning to score Francis Candela as Manila survived Cebu’s gritty stand for the Sharks’ second victory in as many outings.

Earlier, defending champion Batangas rebounded from an opening day loss by crushing Taguig, 15-7.

A two-run double by Randy De Leon keyed a five-run binge in the fourth inning for the Bulls who pounced on 10 Taguig errors.

Thrust into the game as a pinch-hitter, Servo did not disappoint sending starter Joseph Orillana’s 130th pitch to deep left field as Candela rushed home from first base.

Orillana looked in control when he retired Rommel Roja and left fielder Jarus Inobio.

With extra innings looming, Candela struck a single to left, setting the stage for Servo.

“We were lucky,” said Manila coach Joel Palanog, whose squad also barely scraped past the Batangas Bulls, 5-4, last week. “We know that Cebu won’t give up that easily so it’s a good thing that the veterans were there until the end.”

The Sharks looked headed for an easy win when they posted a 6-2 lead in the sixth frame.

But Jonjon Robles, in his first game in the country since playing in the pro league in the Czech Republic, struggled, allowing the Dolphins to tie the game at six in the seventh inning.

Robles yielded five runs on seven hits on 57 pitches, nearly putting to waste a stellar start by Charlie Labrador.

RP Blu Boy Mark Rae Ramirez led the Dolphins comeback with a three-run home run across the right field fence that scored Florencio Ubungen and Jonash Ponce.

Lorenzo Ubungen sparked the Dolphins’ uprising with a single to start the seventh inning. (Inquirer)

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