Pinoy baseball up for promotion
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to be elevated in the world honor roll after defeating three teams that are ranked higher at the recently-concluded 29th Asian Baseball Championships in Taichung, Taiwan. Despite failing to crash the medal round, the Philippines finished with a flourish, demolishing Hong Kong, 10-0 and Sri Lanka, 7-1 to end up fifth in the eight-nation competition.
The Philippines, China and Korea wound up tied 2-1 in a three-team logjam for first at the end of the Group B preliminaries with Pakistan winless at 0-4. The tie was broken by the TQB (Team Quality Balance) system where Korea had the highest quotient at +0.53, China second at -0.01 and the Philippines third at -0.55. Only the top two placers advanced to the Super Round or Final Four. In the preliminaries, the Philippines blasted Pakistan, 11-0 and upset China, 1-0 before bowing to Korea, 12-2.
In the world rankings, the Philippines is No. 33, Korea No. 3, China No. 20, Pakistan No. 24, Hong Kong No. 28 and Sri Lanka No. 41. Philippine Amateur Baseball Championships (PABA) president Chito Loyzaga said in the new rankings, the Philippines should be right behind China which is likely to be promoted because of its 4-3 win over Korea in the Taichung preliminaries.
Against Hong Kong, the Philippines vented its frustration after losing a spot in the Super Round due to the quotient system. Nine Pinoy batters cracked 16 hits, including four doubles and two triples, compared to Hong Kong’s four. The Philippines scored runs in five of eight innings, three each in the top of the second and eighth. Pitcher Kiko Gesmundo, 22, collected eight strikeouts and gave up four hits in seven innings before Vladimir Eguia, 31, stepped in to clean it up in the eighth.
Leading the hitting barrage was Jennald Pareja who had four RBIs, three hits and one run. Diego Lozano compiled three hits, two runs and one RBI while Ros Bernardo and Mark Manaig picked up two hits each.
Last Saturday, the Philippines clinched fifth place with a 7-1 thrashing of Sri Lanka whose Japanese coach Kazuto Nonaka could do nothing to stave off the juggernaut. The Philippines got on the scoreboard early, posting three runs in the bottom of the first. Sri Lanka battled back to score a run in the top of the second then both teams went scoreless in the next four innings before the Philippines broke the silence with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Philippines added another run in the bottom of the eighth then retired Sri Lanka in the top of the ninth.
The Philippines rotated Romeo Jasmin, Jr., 31, Junmar Diarao, 23 and Paolo Macasaet, 24 on the mound. Jasmin was relieved after two innings and surrendering a run then Diarao threw for six innings and Macasaet finished off Sri Lanka in the ninth.
Sri Lanka put up a tough stand and registered eight hits to the Philippines’ 10 but couldn’t bag more than one run. Pareja picked up three singles on four at-bats while Lozana had one hit, one run and two RBIs. Erwin Bosito compiled two hits, two RBIs and one run. Ferdinand Liguayan had two hits and Jarus Inobio and Javi Macasaet, one hit each.