The Philippine Baseball League’s second conference opens on Saturday, with 12 teams composed of seven school-based squads and five clubs split into two groups.
Composing Pool A of this tournament backed by the Philippine Sports Commission are first conference champions Adamson Soaring Falcons; UAAP runners-up Ateneo Blue Eagles; the Katayama Baseball Academy (KBA) Stars; the Itakura Parts Philippines Corporation (IPPC) Nationals; the NU Bulldogs; and the RTU Thunder.
On the other hand, Pool B of this league organized by the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association will feature UAAP champions De La Salle Green Batters; the Air Force Lawin; the Thunder Bolts; the UP Fighting Maroons; the UST Golden Sox; and the RTU Thunder-Alums.
The top two teams after the end of the elimination round will then advance to the crossover semifinals.
“The Filipino baseball player needs more games,” said PABA secretary-general Pepe Muñoz. “What we are trying to target this year is for them to have at least forty to fifty games including the UAAP and our first conference before the SEA Games.”
Besides more exposure for the players, this tournament will also serve as the final tryout for the Men’s National Baseball Team for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“The top performers and the standouts from the Open Conference will certainly have spots in our national team,” disclosed PABA Vice President Boy Tingzon. “We have held tryouts over the past few months but what we want to see right now is how the players react to big game situations.”
To open the tournament, Adamson first face NU at 7:30 am. Air Force then takes on Thunder at 9:30 am, followed by KBA versus RTU.
KBA will have a short break before figuring in an exhibition contest against Korean club team Jeju at 2:00 pm.
Then on Sunday, Ateneo faces IPPC at 8:00 am, followed by games between DLSU and RTU-Alum and Air Force versus UST.
All games will be held at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.