Team Manila dedicates win to flood victims

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Aug 13 2012 06:41 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2012 02:41 AM

LOS ANGELES – Team Manila, champions of the recently concluded 2012 Big League Softball World Series Championship, is dedicating their victory to those affected by the massive flooding that hit Metro Manila and Luzon last week.

Team Manila is considered the best softball team in the world after winning the title in Kalamazoo, Michigan last week. The team is composed of 13 collegiate players from Manila who represented the Asia-Pacific region during the ESPN-televised world series.

The same team had lost in the finals for two consecutive years and opened this year's tournament with two consecutive loses.

But that did not stop them from eventually putting together a dominant seven-game winning streak, which included a victory over the defending champions from Michigan.

They then defeated Westchester California, 14-2, in the finals to become the first internationall team to win the title.

"Parang nag-revenge kami, kasi after two years hindi pa kami mag-champion. Itong year na ito, kailangan namin mag-champion," said pitcher Rizza Bernardino.

The team made it to the final round but as the finals began, disaster hit the Philippines as the monsoon rains brought about massive floods that victimized Metro Manila and parts of Luzon.

The girls said they dedicated their championship to the country, especially to those affected by the floods.

"Sinabi ko nga 'yung game na ito, i-dedicate namin sa mga Pilipino, 'yung nag-suffer sa malaking pagbaha sa buong Metro Manila, para kahit papaano meron lang naman tayo na good news na ipapadala sa Pilipinas," said team manager Ana Santiago.

The 13 girls and three coaches were accompanied by Manila District 5 councilor Che Borromeo, who said the victory is more inspiring because the team struggled to make ends meet.

"A playing team is 15 to 16 players so that's the odds we have to overcome. And also, the equipment, we only have two bats we've been using in this whole series, and four helmets," Borromeo said.

The girls will spend a week in Los Angeles where they will meet with the local Philippine embassy.