Member News

April 20, 2017

Overlooked Baseball Player Comes to Light – Philippines

The Philippine Star, April 18, 2017

A concerned parent recently reached out to share the information that a Filipino was named best third baseman and made it to the 10-man All-Star team at the 11th Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) U18 Championships in Taichung, Taiwan, last year. The parent said the PSA might have missed out on citing 17-year-old Fausto Eizmendi at the Awards Night last February.

Every year, the PSA recognizes the country’s top athletes who are 17 and below as Tony Siddayao awardees. Siddayao was a legendary Filipino sportswriter and sports editor. This year, there were 10 awardees in the category – four from swimming, two from triathlon and one each from gymnastics, karting, skating and powerlifting.

It’s a ticklish issue since the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) president Marty Eizmendi is the kid’s father. Out of delicadeza, PABA didn’t bring the matter up to the PSA even as Eizmendi was clearly a standout at the Taiwan competition where the Philippines finished sixth of eight with a 2-3 record. The Philippines, ranked No. 29 in the world, beat No. 32 Thailand, 13-4 and No. 49 Indonesia, 21-2 but lost to No. 3 Korea, 14-0, No. 4 Chinese-Taipei, 8-0 and No. 25 Hong Kong, 7-5.

The loss to Hong Kong was particularly painful as the Philippines led, 4-2, after six innings. But Hong Kong clawed back to post a run each in the eighth and ninth then added three more in the extra inning. The Philippines closed out the game with another run at the bottom of the 10th. Scoring runs for the Philippines were Christian de la Cruz, Jerome Tenorio (two), Clairon Santos and Jameson Esparas. The team’s nine hits were contributed by De la Cruz (two), Diniel Bautista (two), Esparas, Santos, Floro Malit, Ben Sarmiento and Eizmendi.

Eizmendi compiled two hits, two runs and four RBIs in the romp over Thailand. In the same game, Santos had two runs and five hits. The Philippine team was made up of Eizmendi, De la Cruz, Tenorio, Santos, Esparas, Bautista, Malit, Sarmiento, Julius Diaz, Mark Evangelista, Cyruz Barit, Ivan Hernandez, George Hodges, Gino Riparip, Julio Arrastia and Jackson Acuna.

Eizmendi was joined in the All-Star team by three from Japan, three from Chinese-Taipei, two from Korea and one from China. The All-Star squad had two slots for pitchers, a lefthander and a righthander. Eizmendi finished the tournament with seven RBIs (tied for sixth place), a batting average of .476 (No. 6) and five runs (No. 17). Another Filipino, Bautista, ranked No. 14 in runs with six.

Eizmendi has played baseball since he was six, appearing in international tournaments in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China and Thailand. In 2011, he was on the Philippine squad that placed ninth of 13 at the first International Baseball Federation U12 Championships in Taipei. In that competition, the Philippines beat Indonesia, 15-6 and Ecuador, 7-2, but lost to Mexico, 15-0, Italy, 13-4, Venezuela, 17-0 and South Korea, 7-1.

In March last year, Eizmendi was on the ILLAM (International Little League Association of Manila) team that played against Perth, Bangkok and Singapore at the Southeast Asian Youth Championships in Thailand. He took MVP honors and accounted for three over-the-fence homers. It would’ve been four but the discounted hit went over the lower part of the fence and was listed as a ground-rule double.

Eizmendi’s selection to the U18 Asian All-Star team was a first for a Filipino. “Statistically, he was in the top five alongside players from Japan, Taipei and Korea so a Filipino finally got to hang with these baseball greats,” said the concerned parent. “Having a Filipino on the All-Star team should be a boost to market and promote baseball and hopefully, get the support it needs.”

Japan wound up on top of the ladder at the BFA U18 Championships with Taiwan second and Korea third. China finished fourth, Hong Kong fifth, the Philippines sixth, Thailand seventh and Indonesia eighth.

“Our team was composed mainly of players who are scholars in their schools, like NU and UST,” said the parent. “Although the team was formed three months before the competition, a few players backed out because they were not allowed to play by their school. Some parents also didn’t want their kids to play with kids from different schools and other parents didn’t want to subsidize any player even if the host country shouldered the expenses for hotel, food and transportation. So the Philippines was represented by 16 players, instead of the usual 18. Parents were pulling out their kids as late as two weeks before the games. Of the 16 players who went, seven paid their own way and subsidized the other nine.” Diaz of UST was voted captain of the team by the players and Eizmendi of Brent was co-captain.

(Additional Comment by Baseball Federation of Japan):

At the Executive Committee Meeting of Baseball Federation of Asia in Fukuoka on February 14, 2017,Philippines displayed strong presence by President Marty Eizmendi of PABA who was invited by BFA as an observer.  BFA President Tom Peng and his colleagues of Taiwan were joined by EC members from China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Thailand.