The Philippines absorbed its first loss at the hands of South Korea, 3-9, on Wednesday at the start of the 8th Asian 12-Under Baseball Championship at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Malate, Manila.
“We did our best, we fought hard until the very end and everybody played well today against a tall [South Korean] team. We just had a lot of errors in the early innings,” said head coach Jonash Ponce.
Marcel de Guzman nailed the country’s first score in the third inning then Rafael Bailon and Joaquin Mendoza contributed in the fifth inning of the tournament sanctioned by the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) and supported by The Manila Times.
The Philippines will be facing powerhouse Japan on Thursday.
“Japan is a strong team. We’ll just go out and fight. We just need to adjust on our errors,” added Ponce.
Pitchers Ethan Mitschiener and Kean Agcaoili played against South Korea but Ponce said he’ll be fielding in a new set of pitchers in Michael Mesia and Peter Nonaillada.
After Japan, the Philippines takes on defending champion Taiwan on Friday, Singapore on Saturday and Indonesia on Sunday.
“We’re grateful BFA chose the Philippines as host of this tournament. We at Philippine Amateur Baseball Association [PABA] really work hard and consolidated our efforts to ensure the success of the competition we are hosting for the first time because this the first in my administration,” said PABA President Mar- ty Eizmendi during the open- ing ceremony.
“Baseball is a sport where every player in the team counts and does make a difference. It also teaches teamwork – where one puts the team ahead of oneself. Win or lose, it is my hope that you all build wonderful memories and positive traits that will last you a lifetime,” he added.
Also in attendance in the opining rites were Sen. Sonny Angara, the chairman of the committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco Jr., Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richie Garcia, Commissioners Jolly Gomez and Buddy Andrada, and BFA Secretary General Li Hua-Wei of Taiwan.
“Tournaments like this contribute to the development and advancement of the sport in our locality especially with the youth. The stature of baseball in the Philippines will continue to rise with its increasing support from the Filipinos,” said Angara for his part.
Earlier, Japan bannered by Kazuki Masuda, Hyuma Andi and Teshin Okamoto blasted Indonesia, 20-0, in the opening games while Taiwan blanked Singapore, 27-0, in the second game.