Manila, Cebu and Dumaguete downed their respective rivals in the afternoon matches to sweep their Sunday double-headers and remain tied at the helm in the Baseball Philippines Series 9 at the Parade Grounds in Clark Field, Pampanga.
The three-time defending champion Sharks leaned on a one-run, two-hit outing by their pitchers to blast the Taguig Patriots, 8-1, while the Dolphins escaped with a 9-8 decision over the Alabang Tigers.
The Uni-bikers, meanwhile, fashioned out a 15-9 victory over the Batangas Bulls to join the fancied Sharks and Dolphins in the lead at 4-2 in the event sponsored by Gatorade, Emperador Light, Clark Development Corp., Harbour Centre, Philippine Transmarine Corp., Summit Water and Eagle Sky Inc.
Starter Jayson Dimacutac twirled a no-hitter in three innings, Warren Vispo had a one-run, one-hit game in a five-inning relief job before Roy Baclay held Taguig to only one hit in the ninth to keep the Sharks’ surge after a so-so start in the series organized by Community Sports, Inc.
Manila also complemented its superb pitching with a four-run binge in the second inning to seize control early.
Johndel Tolosa had an RBI at the start and end of the three-run sprees in the third and fourth innings with Herxel Fortunato and Miggy Corcuera also hitting an RBI singles for a 6-0 Cebu lead after the top of the fourth.
After a walk on Christian Maghanoy, Ramil Magno blasted an RBI triple before scoring on a Fortunato double in the seventh, giving Cebu a commanding 9-4 lead at the top of the seventh although the Dolphins had to fend off a late charge by the Tigers.
Mario Cerda earned an RBI single and Adriane Bernardo blasted a two-run double in a three-run Alabang counterattack in the seventh that closed the gap at 7-9.
The Tigers nearly tied the game in the eighth as Carlos Munoz walked, Bocboc Bernardo singled and Jezreel Rosita launched a two-out deep drive into the outfield. Munoz scored but Bocboc Bernardo was tagged out at the plate.
Dumaguete, meanwhile, came back from a 2-5 deficit at the top of the second with three and four runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, as they foiled the Bulls.
The losses dropped Taguig, Alabang and Batangas to 2-4.
Other backers of the league are the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association and the Philippine Umpires Association.