March 3, 2020
Manila Times March 3, 2020 Thirty two-year-old Tim Tebow, who was born in Makati City in 1987, has been declared eligible to play for the Philippines by the US Major LeagueBaseball as reinforcement in the WBC qualifying tournament.
The Filipino ballers have been bracketed in the six-team Pool 2 of the Qualifier along with Czech Republic, New Zealand, Spain and Great Britain.
Two teams out of six will qualify for the WC proper,.
News of Tebow’s eligibility was relayed to the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association by Bill Picketts, who has ha appointed as team manager of the PH squad.
Picketts, whose wife is a Cebuana, was recommended to the PABA by Filipino baseball mentor Oscar Marcelino, who’d been coaching in the US for quite sometime before transferring to Singapore where he’s now teaching the sport in Singaporean-American high school team.
As the Nationals’ team manager, Picketts represented PABA in reaching out to Tebow and in dealing with the World Baseball Classic sanctioning body, USMLB.
Although not a bona-fide Filipino, PABA secretary general Pepe Munoz explained that Tebow, born to American Baptist Missionary couple is qualified as reinforcement by virtue of merely having born in the country.
“The WBC is a special tournament under the MLB where players born in a country are allowed to play for that country, “ Munoz explained. “Players here don’t need a passport issued by the country they’re playing for nor need to have blood running in their veins.”
Tebow has been in constant touch with the Philippines even after his family went back to the US and, in fact, been seen watching Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao’s training for his coming fights in Manila.
Fourteen players of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games champion Philippine team, according to Munoz, form the core of the WC Nine that will be beefed up by 14 other US-based Fil-Americans.
“Picketts has been conducting tryouts for the Fil-Am side of the team, which will join their natural-born Filipino teammates when they arrive in Arizona on March 17,” Munoz said.
The all-Filipino lineup has been in deep training since the start of the year after winning the SEA Games title.