By ALEX P. VIDAL/ PNS
If they did not swallow whole Vietnam, 2-0, in a startling upset and salvaging draws against Myanmar and Palestine in the AFF Suzuki Cup last year and changing their moniker from mere RP XI to “Azkals”, their conquests would have remained buried deep in the inside pages of the tabloids’ sports section.
A perennial whipping boy in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Philippine booters have instantly captured the national imagination because, aside from their tall and good-looking British and Spanish mestizo members and foreign coaches, they are now known as “Azkals” which means “wild dogs” if translated in local dialect.
And they won the recent AFC Challenge Cup by blanking Bangladesh, 3-0, in the group stages.
While all eyes and ears are on the Azkals, the Philippine boys’ baseball team now nicknamed the “Little Razcals” won the recent Asia Pacific Zone Pony Mustang Baseball Championship in Vietnam which was a qualifier to the World Series.
Their come-from behind win over Singapore, 14-6, earned them a slot to represent the Asia Pacific region to the Pony Mustang Baseball World Series in Burleson, Texas on August 3-6, 2011.
The Little Razcals started their campaign with a 13-3 rout of Singapore, waylaid host Vietnam, 26-3, and outclassed Indonesia, 21-16, to sweep the eliminations and go into the finale spotless.
Young baseball players also easily grabbed the spotlight because aside from marching to the higher league where they will be pitted against heavier and more experienced rivals from all over the world including the US and Caribbean countries, they are now known as “Little Razcals” which is equivalent to infamy when the letter z is changed to s in the spelling.
The Little Razcals is composed of Javier Jesus Sale, Marty Alonso Ranada, Vincent Joshua Noprado, John Fritz Natanauan, Lorenzo Montemayor, Efril Ian Mercado, Robert Emmanuel Manaig, Jose Marie Javier Limpo, Daniel Isaac Fabella, Zian Javiel Eleria, Lloyd Christian Cinco, Charles Joshua Castillo, Carl Christopher Castaneda, Nathan Joseph Carpio, and Ezequiel Cyros Agojo.
According to team manager Rodolfo Tingzon, Jr., the Razscals will participate in a series of local tournaments to build up for the World Series.
“It is our first time to join in the 10 years old and under category at nag champion pa tayo sa Asia Pacific. From the start, I never expected the team to win because the opponents were a lot bigger than our players. That’s why we thought we had nothing to lose,” team coach Eric Gesmundo, former member of the RP team told campus writer Jaser Marasigan in a recent interview.
“But I saw how our boys really wanted to make it to the World Series. I told them, minsan lang ito kaya huwag niyong sayangin. Kaya mas lalo silang motivated ngayon.”
Because of the fad nowadays to glamorize the moniker of our national teams possibly to whip up their fighting mood, we won’t be surprised if our rowing teams in outdoor event will soon be named as “Butakals” which has more horrendous and repulsive English translation.