THE Philippines will see action in the 28th Baseball Federation of Asia Asian Baseball Championship in New Taipei City.
Reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player Iggy Escano heads the young players in the squad — the team’s average age is 22 — including UAAP best pitcher Paolo Macasaet, Dino Altomonte, Javi Macasaet, Marco Mallari, Aids Bernardo, Diego Lozano, Geof Magsadia, Kiko Gesmundo, Carlos Munoz, Jerome Yenson, Erwin Bosito, Mark Manaig, Alfredo De Guzman, Clarence Calisaan, Ron Dela Cruz and Lesmar Ventura.
The veterans in the team are Jarus Inobio, Joennard Pareja, Jennald Pareja, Jonash Ponce, Jon-Jon Robles and Romeo Jasmin.
National University softball team head coach Egay Delos Reyes is the team manager, while Jeffrey Santiago, Orlando Binarao and Joel Orillana will be part of the staff.
The Philippines will face Chinese Taipei on Monday to start Group A action. The Filipinos take on Sri Lanka on Tuesday and South Korea on Wednesday.
The top two teams in each groups will advance to the semifinals.
Philippine Amateur Baseball Association secretary general Chito Loyzaga admitted the team’s participation is for exposure in international play.
"'Yun lang muna target namin this year, to send a signal that we are here, alive and kicking, and that we are going to participate," said Loyzaga. "It's a young team. I heard that the average age is 22 years old. We are happy to see how they will perform.”
"I told the boys na ‘This is the top tournament in Asia and that you will face the top teams in the continent, including three of the top four teams in the world. Again, I am also an athlete like you. I always want to win but winning is not everything. If we don't win on the field, I hope all of you earn their respect as Filipino athletes and as the national team.’” said he added.