MANILA, Philippines - Andres Vasquez, a mainstay of Rutgers University, a Division I team in the US NCAA, will be reinforcing the Philippine baseball team that will see action in the East Asian elimination of the Asia Cup set Sept. 18-23 in Bangkok.
Baseball association president Hector Navasero said the 19-year-old lefty will be arriving Manila early next week to add power to the Filipinos’ pitching rotation in their bid to top the tournament they won in 1995 and 1999 and represent Southeast Asia in the Asia Cup.
“I talked to Vasquez’s father a few days ago over the phone and he assured me that Andres will be coming here in time for the team’s departure on Sept. 17,” Navasero said during the SCOOP Sa Kamayan session, sponsored by Powerade, AKTV and FILA, at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.
The PABA head said Vasquez is one of several Fil-Americans his son Thomas “Binkee” Navasero, PABA’s international representative, is eyeing to play for the national team.
“Binkee is currently in the US to talk with several players there in the hope of convincing them to play for flag and country, including the San Francisco Giants sensation Tim Lincecum and Geno Espeneli, himself a former Giants,” Navasero said.
“Getting Fil-Ams to reinforce our national teams is part of PABA’s program of improving our standing in Asia and in the world,” Navasero explained, adding that the Philippines is presently ranked fifth in Asia and 24th in the world.”
Navasero bared that the Philippines had been ranked 18th in the world, but its failure to play in the 2010 Asian Games for lack of funds saw the country skid to 24th.
Assistant coach Roel Empacis, who, along with several team members, accompanied Navasero to the public Service forum, said the Filipinos are seeded no. 1 to romp off with the crown in view of bringing home the gold medal in last year’s Southeast Asian Games via a sweep of all their games.
“Malakas itong team na ito kesa dati. Kompleto and besides our veteran campaigners, we injected the team with young players from the UAAP. Empacis said. “Siguro we can maintain our unbeaten records in a Southeast Asian level competitions.”
Veteran internationalists Ruben Angeles, Ernesto Binarao, Francis Candela, Darwin dela Calzada, Charlie Labrador, Marvin Malig, Joseph Orillana, Jennifer Pinero, Jonash Ponce, Jon Jon Robles and Rommel Roja have kept their places in the team, according to Empacis.
Playing for the first time in interntional competition are Christian Canlas, Vladimir Eguia, Romeo Jasmin Jr., Sazon Omandac, Fulgencio Rances Jr., Michael Justin Zialcita and Jennald Pareja.