MANILA, Philippines - The ninth season of Baseball Philippines Series unfolds March 31 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium with the organizers hoping to produce future members of the national team vying for a berth in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
“We hope Baseball Phils. could help in the formation of our national team going to the World Baseball Classic where we have one slot,” said Baseball Phils. commissioner Nolan Bernardino during Tuesday’s PSA Forum at the Shakey’s UN Ave.
Bernardino said the qualification round for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the Olympics and World Cup will be held this year.
A total of 16 teams will compete in the qualifiers – the bottom four teams from the 2009 World Baseball Classic and the other 12 that were invited by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), including the Philippines.
The Filipinos are bracketed in the third group along with Chinese Taipei, which finished in the bottom four in the last edition, New Zealand and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the six teams seeing action in the Baseball Phils. Season IX will be in for a grueling schedule wherein they will play two matches a day totalling 15 games.
The Alabang Tigers and the Batangas Bulls kick off hostilities at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Other matches pit the Taguig Patriots against four-peat seeking Manila Sharks at 11 a.m. and the Cebu Dolphins, the Series VIII runners-up, clashing with the Dumaguete Unibikers at 2 p.m.
“It’s going to be tougher and more exciting not only because we have so many games but we also have a combination of young and veteran players seeing action,” said Bernardino.
On Sunday, Manila collides with Cebu, Dumagueta takes on Alabang and Batangas faces off Taguig, also at the Rizal baseball field before the league holds the rest of its matches at the baseball grounds in Clark Field, Pampanga through the sponsorship of Clark Development Corp.