Philippine Habagat Baseball

The second batch of 11-12 year old boys who represented the country at the PONY league ASPAC regional qualifiers are now back and practicing with their respective teams.

The team unfortunately did not win the tournament.  The teams they played against were admittedly years advanced in training and experience.  They went up against the powerhouse teams of Chinese Taipei, Korea and Japan whose baseball program over the past decade have immensely improved.  It is these three teams that would capture the ASPAC regionals and continue to also win the World Series of the league.  In fact, these same teams also lord it over in the rival league, the Little League Organization.

The Habagat program is on its second year and so far, without sounding self serving,  it has shown that boys who go through this program can match up against these powerhouse teams.

If you understand the game of baseball,  the Habagat team held all these three teams to several zero innings despite the latter’s dominance in hitting.  They gave Korea a scare as the boys were on base a lot of times getting ready to score.

One parent in fact highlighted an instance where a young Chinese Coach who is training and is working closely with the Major League Baseball (MLB) facility came up to our interpreter and asked her to let the boys know how impressed he was with how they played, and called it the team’s most shining moment.

This Chinese coach in fact watched the game against Taipei which Taipei won.  But he saw how the Habagat boys played one hundred percent and kept the Chinese Taipei swatters at bay for close to 4 innings.  This Chinese Taipei team can play and win against maybe 15-16 year old boys.

To be honored by praises from the powerhouse teams’ coaches and players is a huge first step for Philippine baseball.  The intention is to slowly, little by little, inch by inch get back to the glory that the Philippines once had in this sport.

The Habagat program’s bedrock is simply this:

“Never understimate what these young boys can do.  Place them in a situation that truly challenges their skill and determination and their greatness will shine through. ”

However, clearly behind this is the expectation of hardwork and perseverance that is apt to the identifed challenge at hand.

Who knows maybe next year we can knock out one of them… or maybe 2.