Philippines batters gain ground

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines crushed Pakistan, 11-0 then edged China, 1-0, to surge to a 2-0 record and close in on a berth in the four-team Super Round of the 29th Asian Baseball Championships in Taichung, Taiwan.

To avoid a touchy situation of a three-way tie for first, the Philippines had to beat Korea in a critical match that was scheduled yesterday. A loss will bunch the Philippines, China and Korea in a logjam for first place with the quotient system to decide the top two finishers advancing to the Super Round. China earlier trimmed Korea, 4-3. The deadlock for first will emerge if Korea defeated the Philippines and China downed Pakistan. Korea blasted Pakistan, 12-1, last Tuesday.

The Philippines got off to a flying start by walloping Pakistan in seven merciless innings last Monday. There were nine runs scored in the third, fourth and fifth innings as the Filipinos cruised to a one-sided victory, collecting 13 hits to Pakistan’s four. Jennald Pareja cracked three hits with one RBI in four at-bats and scored two runs while Jonash Ponce and Erwin Bosito delivered two hits apiece. Ponce picked up two RBIs. Aside from Pareja, others who scored runs were Junmar Diarao (two), Ponce, Ferdinand Liguayan, Jarus Inobio, Bosito, Mark Steven Manaig and Javi Macasaet (two).

Rotating on the mound were Kiko Gesmundo in four innings and Vladimir Eguia, Arvin Herrera and Miguel Salud an inning each. 

The win over China was historic as it was the Philippines’ first in 20 years, according to Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) secretary-general Pepe Muñoz. The Philippines scored in the bottom of the third with Diarao landing home on a hit by Ponce. Romeo Jasmin was the starting pitcher and Salud reported in the seventh inning to finish the contest. 

While PABA president Chito Loyzaga commended the team for the 2-0 jackrabbit start, he declined to comment on its overall performance until after the game against Korea. Loyzaga cited Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe (Ping) Remollo’s presence as head of the Philippine delegation in providing guidance to the team. “Our fellow PABA Board of Trustee Mayor Ping shares his leadership, experience and guidance,” said Loyzaga. “We hope and pray for the success of our team.”

Muñoz said in a triple tie, the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) TQB system will determine the placings. The system takes into account the game scores of the teams involved in the deadlock. The TQB formula is runs scored divided by offensive innings minus runs allowed divided by defensive innings. In China’s case, its TQB is -.01, counting its 1-0 loss to the Philippines and 4-3 win over Korea. 

If the Philippines beat Korea yesterday, it will be the only unbeaten team from Group B advancing to the Super Round. China will also move up in second place, eliminating Korea. The Philippines is bracketed in Group B with Korea, Pakistan and China. Group A is made up of Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese-Taipei and Sri Lanka. The top finishers of both groups move to the Super Round where the top two placers battle for the gold and the last two for the bronze on Sunday.

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