By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
PAKISTAN’S no-show assured Philippines’ intermediate baseball team, composed of 11 to 13 year old kids from Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, to advance to the crossover phase in the ongoing Little League Asia Pacific and Middle East regional tournament which took off Saturday in Hwaseong, South Korea.
Bracketed in Pool B, Philippines, which has with a 1-1 win-loss standing, is behind Japan’s 2-0 record while Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands lost two of its games.
Philippine delegation coordinator Raymund Antolo said the red-blue-and-white team is supposed to face Pakistan today but the latter’s delegation had problems with travel papers.
“Now, we have to wait for the four teams, under Pool A, to complete their games and advance to the crossover,” Antolo told the Gold Star Daily.
The Philippine team from little-known San Isidro Elementary School suffered a humiliating 3-11 loss Sunday to Japan, touted as one of the powerhouse teams, among seven countries seeing action in this world series regional qualifying face-offs.
But the loss to Japan came after the gutsy team surprised a US-trained Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands squad with a 5-1 beating in Saturday’s opening game.
“Two years ago, we also lost to Japan, 2-10, though our team this time blanked them in the fifth inning,” Antolo said. “No less than our regional director Art Bayocot (of Department of Education 10) led the cheering during highly spirited game.”
He said because of the absence of Pakistan, the Philippine team could rest for two days before the opponent in crossover could be determined.
“We hope to bounce back, much more because we are fully rested,” said the Deped-10 official, who also accompanied the bronze-medal winning baseball team from Misamis Occidental Jimenez Central School in 2017.