THE Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (Paba) is aiming to win at least a game in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifier 1 set February 11 to 14 in Sydney, Australia.
“I’m really expecting to win,” said PABA president Marty Eizmendi in an interview over DZSR Sports Radio on Thursday.
“That’s the target and that’s the marching orders I gave to the coaches.”
The Philippine team will be backstopped by Fil-Americans including players who saw action in the minor leagues.
The Pinoy batters will face Australia on February 11 in the qualifiers with the winner facing either South Africa or New Zealand in a modified double elimination format tournament. The winner of the four qualifiers will advance to the main tournament next year.
Former New York Yankees pitcher Clay Rapada will lead the Philippine team along with catcher Brad Haynal of the Miami Marlins Class A affiliate Batavia Muckdogs and first baseman Angelo Songco of Los Angeles Dodgers Class AA affiliate Tulsa Drillers.
Tim Hulett, a manager of Texas Rangers Class A affiliate Spokane Indians, will be the manager of the Philippine team.
Eizmendi said PABA will do its best to have the local and foreign-based players jell despite the short preparation.
“Hopefully, in the two days, they can adjust to the team. We have another two days of MLB practice. Hopefully, it works,” said Eizmendi.
“I know it’s very difficult but we have to use their talents and use each and every individual talent and form a team within a span of one week to make it happen for the Philippines,” Eizmendi said.