Barakos defeated, but they ‘played with heart and confidence’

Barakos take a bow before the games. Photos by Raul Mercado

Barakos take a bow before the games. Photos by Raul Mercado

The Philippine Pony Baseball Barakos were in town last week to compete in the Pony Bronco-11 World Series in Chesterfield, Virginia.

The Barakos did not win but “they won the hearts of Filipinos in the D.C. area,” said Raul Mercado, manager at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, where the boys were housed while in competition.

“The Barakos played with a lot of heart and confidence,” said their trainer and manager Rodolfo Tingzon Jr., who is also the president of the Philippine Tot Baseball Foundation.

The Barakos comprise young Filipino boys age 9 to 11 years old who come from low-income families and hope to complete their education through sports. It was the route taken by Tingzon and his father before him.

“We come from a family of limited means, and yet we were able to finish college on baseball scholarships,” he told The FilAm.

When the PONY Baseball & Softball Program started in 1974 in the Philippines and in Asia, Tingzon Sr. put together a team of young boys who wanted to excel in sports as a means to higher education. His son took over the organization, based in Tanauan, Batangas, in 1994, and did not depart from the course taken by his father.

Year in and year out, the team survives on hand-me- down baseball equipment and plays with water-logged and re-sewn baseballs, said Tingzon Jr. Their playing field is used for different purposes during the year, therefore quite rough that it generates more bad bounces than good ones.

“But in spite of this, they still manage to pull though with their baseball program as best as they can,” he said.

“Most of them coming from an underprivileged community, which means that most are under-nourished with below average body frames for their age. But their work ethic is just astonishing since they practically beg for more practices from their coaches and they faithfully want to learn more of the game,” Tingzon Jr. added.

FilAm associations in Virginia and individuals, such as Mercado, offered to house the players when they were in town for the games. A dinner reception was hosted for them at the Philippine Embassy.– Cristina DC Pastor

Exhausted after a tour of the White House

Exhausted after a tour of the White House

One Comment

  1. mmmatthews wrote:

    Indeed, a very inspiring base ball story.

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