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Anastacio Francisco, one of the country’s best pitchers during an era when the Philippines was one of the top softball countries in the world, died in Zamboanga City last November 16 at the age of 69.
His nephew, Rey Reyes, told Rappler that Francisco was buried on Monday, November 22.
Francisco put Barangay Mampang on the Philippine sports map decades before Hidilyn Diaz as he was named Mr. Softball in 1975.
Former national softball coach Raul Saberon, in a phone interview, said Francisco was one of the best pitchers of the Blu Boys, the nickname of the PH squad.
“He was the part of that group who were trained to compete at the world and Asian championships,” said Saberon in a phone interview with Rappler.
Emma Samson, the former Blu Girl pitcher, said in a text message to Rappler her provincemate was a “kind and protective person, just like a brother.”
Samson said Francisco’s best pitch was a downball and his riser was his second-best weapon.
He also played for the Philippines for the Southeast Asian Games, which the country ruled with an iron hand in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a pitching coach for the Philippine team in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.
Reyes, on his Facebook post, recounted how he saw his uncle practice once.
”From a regular distance pitch, he started moving backwards and threw consistently fast balls in which most of which I counted as strikes. The distance he was throwing doubled but clearly he did not lose control. I saw how serious he was doing the drill and was enjoying every moment. From then on, I understood why he was a softball legend and was not allowed to play in local tournaments,” Reyes said.
These are what sports heroes are made of and remembered to their last days. – Rappler.com