For the last few weeks, the top baseball players in the country have been training hard at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. Beginning on Sunday, June 24, they will begin their title defense of the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) East Asia Cup in Sai Tso Wan in Hong Kong.
A mix of veterans and young blood will compose the line-up.
Former Ateneo Blue Eagle Aids Bernardo will serve as the team’s captain.
Joining him are veterans Jonnard and Jennald Pareja, Jon Robles, Vlad Eguia, Jonash Ponce, Bong Linguayen, Jarus Inobio, and Romeo Jasmin.
The rest of the team are some of the top stars in the UAAP and High School ranks.
From defending UAAP champions Adamson Soaring Falcons, Jerome Yenson, Steven Manaig, Erwin Bosito, Kyle Villafana, and Bryan Castillo have been named to the team.
La Salle will be represented by UAAP Season 80 Athlete of the Year Kiko Gesmundo and Diego Lozano while Javi Macasaet, Fausto Eizmendi, and Dino Altomonte were lent by Ateneo.
UST Golden Sox’s Lesmar Ventura and Ron dela Cruz and NU’s Alfredo de Guzman complete the student-athletes form the UAAP.
Completing the line-up is Harper Sy from International School of Manila.
Though the team is young, Bernardo believes that they have what it takes to compete with the region’s best. Moreover, the team is using this as a preparation for the 2019 SEA Games.
“We hope to defend the crown so that we could qualify for the Asian Baseball Championships next year,” the team captain said. “Maganda rin itong preparations for the SEA Games.”
Calling the shots from the clubhouse are Egay delos Reyes, Joseph Orillana, Orlando Binarao, Wilfredo Hidalgo, and Keiji Kateyama.
Back in 2015, the Philippines swept the tournament — including a 10-0 rout of Indonesia to win the country’s fourth crown.
The Filipino batters will open their campaign against Thailand on Monday, June 25. They will then face Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. The team with the best record wins the tournament.