Team PH places in top 5 in Pony Mustang World Baseball Series

By JV Villar, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

August 4, 2014

BURLESON, Texas – Out of eight winning teams from all over the world and different parts of the United States, Team Philippines bagged a fifth place finish on Saturday night at the Pony Mustang World Baseball Series in Burleson, Texas – a first for the Philippines.

In 2011 and 2012, Team Philippines did not win any games in the league despite winning the Asia Pacific Championship year after year. It was only in 2013 that Team Philippines placed seventh in the World Series.

Team Philippines was composed of 10-year-olds from Tanuan City, Batangas.

For their last game Team Philippines placed off against Team Mexico. It was a close battle – too close in fact – as Team Mexico only won by one point.

But rather than dwell on the loss, these Pinoy baseball players say they’re focusing on the joy of placing fifth in a highly-competitive league.

“Playing against Mexico, even we lost, we’re just having fun,” said Jacob Don Frankera.

“Pony baseball is designed to protect our nation’s youth by providing experiences in baseball that will help young people grow into healthier and happier adults,” said JV Villar.

“Same age, same skill level, so you just have to move another notch high,” said Rodolfo Tingzon Jr., the President of the Philippine Tot Baseball Foundation. “Play harder, play stronger, and have that pride to be Filipinos, and have pride that we are playing at the world stage.”

Getting to this point took a lot of hard work and resourcefulness from Team Philippines.

They didn’t get enough funding from the Philippine government to take part in the World Series. They practiced with hand-me-down equipment from teams from the United States.

This year, the Filipino-American Association of North Texas also provided Team Philippines with new baseball equipment and uniforms.

Back home, the city government of Tanuan, Batangas is making sure to train the next generation of champion baseball players – they set aside P5 million pesos to set up a baseball academy in Tanuan. This will be the first baseball academy in the Philippines.

“To be competitive, we have to start these kids early, mga 5 years old, 6 years old, katulad ditto sa America, maaga sila mag start ng baseball,” said Tato Dimayuga, Tanuan City Batangas Sports Commissioner. “So with that academy, magi invite kami ng mga kids na para mag start sila ng five. Dito nila matutunan ang basics of baseball para naman maging ka level natin yung mga at least international standards. So dito magkakaroon tayo ng mga training facilities, baseball equipments, baseball fields para talagang matuto ang mga bata natin.”

Members of Team Philippines believe that one day they will come home as the number one team in the world.

“Kasi naiinterview po ako dati ng ABS-CBN,” said player Lord Aragon De Vera, “Wala po akong medal, ngayon may medal na kami. Nag improve po kami.”

Despite the challenges they went through, these young Pinoy baseball players say there is nothing more rewarding than to present the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Region with pride and honor.

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  • kikay Pang0
    6 August 2014 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Are they age legit ? or just like a bunch of overage Fil. players who cheated the 1992 Little League World Series.