MANILA, Philippines – For the fifth time in a row, Japan was again crowned the champions of the 2012 XXVI Asian Baseball Championships in Tai-Chung Taiwan on Sunday, December 2.
As for the Philippine men’s baseball team, they will be flying back into the country as silently as they left.
The Philippines only won one game and dropped 4 others, their only win coming by way of Pakistan with a score of 2-0.
Despite the losses however, coaches and players are optimistic about the team’s improvements — especially following a stellar performance against Japan.
China surprised the Filipinos, outhitting them 14-2, which allowed the Chinese players to post a 16-0 shutout.
Taiwan routed the team with a 12-1 score, an expected ending though the coaching staff thought that they could have kept the game closer if not for some unfortunate plays.
The high point of the crusade was how the Philippine boys kept the game close against Korea and Japan.
They played Korea on opening day and kept the game close allowing the Koreans only 6 runs. The Koreans however managed to play well enough to convert these 6 runs with only 5 hits, helped along by the Philippines’ 3 errors.
The Korean defense held up allowing the Filipinos only 3 runs despite their 7 hits.
The game against Japan however showed that on a good day, when everything comes together perfectly, the Philippine baseball program can give baseball powerhouses a challenge.
The Japan Samurai Warriors only managed to score one run out of a total of 5 hits posted against the Filipino pitchers. Both teams played superb defense as no errors were committed but the Philippine bats were silent producing only 2 hits.
Japan’s pitching dominance was punctuated by the fact that they only gave up two runs over the 5 games that they played. Taiwan and China each scored one run against the mighty Japanese nine.
Despite the losses, team coach Wilfredo Hidalgo said he is happy with how the team performed.
Given the resources available and the time allotted to prepare, the team performed above expectations and matched the play of both the Japanese and Korean teams. He said that in the past, their games against these baseball giants have been blowouts — but now they have been able to stay close and push back.
He highlighted that this team now has a good crop of young players who, given their inexperience in international competition, surprised everybody with their above par performance.
But he said there is more to be done.
“We need to instill a never say die attitude. A good sports psychology program coupled with an effective strength and conditioning training regimen will improve our chances,” he said.
He added that the challenge for the team now, is sustaining this high level of performance.
In the past 3 weeks, the Philippine Baseball Team has seen action in the World Baseball Classic and Asian Baseball Championships. Competing internationally has given the national baseball community clear goals and insights in what needs to be done to get back to baseball leadership in the region.
Japan is expected to maintain its number one world ranking in this sport followed closely by both Taiwan and Korea.
But the Philippines is slowly climbing its way back up and may soon be a force to reckon with. – Rappler.com
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