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Batting for a Gilas national baseball program

/ 04:02 AM October 23, 2019

Please share this enthusiastic letter from roving street sociologist Antonio Bulatao, a boyhood friend and ardent sports enthusiast:

The World Series of the US starts Wednesday morning, Philippine time. The recently-concluded league championship series drew overcapacity stadium crowds of around 50,000 each game; male, female, young and old. Baseball is considered America’s pastime.

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Many Filipinos may not be aware that there is a Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium, even with its strategic corner lot place. Very few could remember that there was a Manila Bay Baseball League (MBBL). Many Filipino children may not be aware there is such a game. Millennials and younger generation may not know the rudiments of the game.

Playing baseball is expensive. You’d need gloves, bats, balls, and a big playing field. My brothers and I played a two-base (home and field) game, with gloves improvised from carton boxes, dos-por-dos as bat, small empty milk can as ball. Safer with tennis ball for a baseball.

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Dwindling viewership killed MBBL. Less viewership, less commercial support. Soon thereafter Philippine baseball went into limbo. There were some bright days then with Philippine Little League Baseball when our team played well in international competitions, until a scandal in 1992 rocked it.

In the column of Recah Trinidad last Saturday, it is heartening to know that there is a Philippine baseball team competing very well in the 29th Asian Baseball Championship, and to know that ex-PBA stalwart Chito Loyzaga heads PABA. Mr. Chito did somehow a reverse of what the MBBL great Filomeno “Boy” Codinera did when he gave his sons to PBA.

Another proponent of Philippine baseball—kiddie baseball—is Fil-Am US-based Roberto Ribay. Mr. Ribay, a hot-blooded Bicolano graduate of USAF Academy, helped established a little league in his hometown Oas, Albay. He donated the necessary equipment for the players. He wants to go beyond the hometown league, and hopes for a reactivation of the national Philippine Little League Baseball.

However, when Mr. Ribay tried to reach out to the Philippine Sports Commission, he was told flatly baseball is not included in the PSC program.

My generation is still waiting for a Filipino NBA player. Unless we have a 5’7” being a champion in slam dunk, a 5’10” three-time NBA slam dunk champion; our six-footers out-shoot in three-point shots and outrun the NBA seven-footers, we’d die disappointed.

“Gilas” may be appropriately named. But “More Gilas” is what we need.

Why not a “More Gilas” baseball team?

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