August 16, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – As part of its efforts to improve the country's standing in the international scene and grow the sport, the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) is fielding a crack 18-man team in the 10th Baseball Federation of Asia Under-15 Championship from August 16-25 in Shenzhen, China.
The Filipino batters are set to face the continent's best in the biennial meet, which serves as qualifier for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 World Cup. Ranked 33rd in the 2018 WBSC world rankings, the Philippine IX seeks to gain inroads as they play against the likes of top-ranked Japan, No. 3 Korea, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 20 China. No. 24 Pakistan, No. 28 Hong Kong and No. 31 Indonesia.
"The PABA, with the solid support of the Philippine Sports Commission, is working on the country's quality participation in sanctioned tournaments to improve our once competitive world ranking," PABA president Chito Loyzaga said.
The team is composed of Francwin Basanes, Ezykiel Bautista, Jose Emmauiel Cahilo, Francis Cyrus Carino, Raven Paul Cuarto, Niccolo Armando de Castro, John Allen dela Cruz, Khristian Aleck Ferrolino, Marco Daniel Flores, Kim Darwin Jarito, Eman Jesie Javier, Gerry Asher Laylo, Ram Gauvin Matanguihan, Mark Morillo, John Mark Natanawan, Virgilio Jake Roxas, Roan Vrix Terrible and Axl Ross Vispo.
Head coach Ricard Jimenez, assistant coach Anthony Dizer, Jr. and team manager Mike Asuncion have selected the U15s from an "exhaustive and diligent tryout process attended by 92 players from different parts of the country. The squad paid a courtesy call on PSC chairman Butch Ramirez and Commissioner Ramon Fernandez the other day.
"This participation of the Philippine team is a vital contribution to the PABA's initiative to tap new blood and elevate standards of the sport through the proper formation and fielding of competitive team," said Loyzaga.
The association, he added, is "overwhelmed by the general interest of our youth baseball players."
"It just shows there is a recovering popularity of the sport and PABA hopes to tap more talents especially from the far-flung provinces," he said