PH plays host to regional Pony League in Alabang
The Philippines will play host to the Asia Pacific division championships of the Pony League from July 11 to 16 at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa City.
The Pony is a transition league for baseball players who have graduated from Little League, and is designed for athletes aged 13 to 14. It began in the US in 1951 and now boasts of around 500,000 participating players around the globe annually.
Representing the Philippine team is a mix of 13 and 14 year-old young athletes from Batangas, Laguna, Marikina, Muntinlupa, and Cavite — all selected from among 35 aspirants who underwent a series of try-outs, which started in December 2015.
Leading the team are head coach Eduard Tuazon from the De La Salle Zobel Baseball Club, and assistant coach Ricardo “Iking” Jimenez, who is also team manager of the Dumaguete Unibikers.
To mount the six-day event,Pony Baseball, Inc. inked a sponsorship agreement with DECA Homes to hold the championship matches in the country which will see the Philippine team compete against Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
“Sports like baseball provide an environment where our children can realize the value of teamwork, respect for authority and for each other, and most importantly, understand the context of winning through the game. In this way, sports becomes a real tool to mold the nation’s youth,” said Januario Jesus Atencio, president and CEO of 8990 Holdings Inc.“This is congruent with our company’s mission to provide a level of family life that attracts happiness, togetherness and growth.”
“This tournament is very important for us because it will allow us to represent the Asia Pacific region in the World Series,” shared team manager Manny de Castro. “We are confident we will put up a good fight during the championships. Our players have been practicing three times a week since the first try-outs in December.”
In preparation for the big match, the Philippine team also joined a pocket tournament last summer where they clinched the championship.
“We feel very honored that the league has chosen the Philippines as the venue for this year’s Asia Pacific zone championships. We would not have done it without the support of sponsors such as 8990 DECA Homes. Their advocacy to promote youth development through sports is like the homes they build—a wise investment for the future,” added de Castro.
The participating teams will compete in an elimination round leaving only four teams going against each other in the semi-finals, before qualifying for the finals, where only two Pony baseball teams tough it out for the title.
The series will also feature a Southeast Asian (SEA) match which determines the champion for the region.
The overall champion of the Asia Pacific Zone qualifies for the Pony League World Series to be held in Virginia, USA this August.