A FILM inspired by the Little League World Series baseball scandal that rocked Philippine sports back in 1992 is entered in this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival.
According to director Gil Portes, The Liars starring Alessandra De Rossi was inspired by the events that led to the Philippines being stripped of its Little League World Series crown after the national team, represented by Zamboanga, was found to have fielded overaged and ineligible players.
“It is basically a fiction of poor players from Smokey Mountain who dreamed of improving their lives through baseball,” said Portes in an interview with Spin.ph.
The Zamboanga team won the 1992 Little League crown against Long Beach, California in Williamsport, Pennsylvania but was later stripped of the title after it was discovered that some players failed were over the age limit and were based in other provinces in violation of tournament rules.
Portes said he had long thought about doing a movie based on the scandal from the time it happened.
“I was in the States when they won in Pennsylvania. Hindi naman ako nanood pero na-dyaryo ‘yan. When I went home, I was shocked to find out na may dayaan na nangyari. Simula pa noon, tumatak na ‘yun sa utak ko na someday, I’ll do something about this,” Portes said.
The award-winning director said he has been working on the script for years.
“Then a few years ago, there was a series of articles about it. Sabi ng writer ko, na-inspire siya na sulatin ang script. Of course, we didn’t write it the way it happened,” said Portes.
The director said the movie tackled the ills of society in a baseball setting.
“Nangyayari pa rin ang pandaraya, injustice, at kasinungalingan hindi lang sa sports, pati na rin sa ibang larangan,” Portes said.
Even though the movie was based on a scandal that was played up in the international media and is widely considered as one of the darkest moments in Philippine sports, Portes refused to label the movie as a ‘sports film.’
“The movie is not actually about baseball. It’s not a baseball film. You don’t learn to play baseball maski isang libong beses mo panoorin ‘yung movie," Portes said.
“Baseball is only a backdrop. It’s only a means of showing that there is injustice, corruption, lying, and cheating. Ginamit lang namin ‘yung baseball dahil nangyari ‘yun prominently. But it’s not a sports film,” said Portes.