The entry of young players and the holding of games in Clark Field spice up the coming Baseball Philippines Series 9 which will begin their three-month competitions on March 31.
Baseball Philippines executive director Nolan Bernardino said that players from the collegiate ranks have been added to the six-team field ensuring the parity of the league.
The entry of several new players came after some members of the national players decided to beg off from participating in Series 9 to prepare for this year’s series of tournaments which includes the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in November.
The opening weekend of the league will be held at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium but will then shift to Clark Field starting April 22 where three baseball fields have been constructed to accommodate the games.
“We practically have new players coming from the UAAP. We have new and old players who can excite the league. The holding of games in Clark is a start of something for them since they are envisioning of, someday, building a sports stadium,” said Bernardino in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
The Manila Sharks are gunning for their fourth straight crown but team manager Eric Cadavillo said that it won’t be easy.
“We will be going for the ‘grand slam’ but our chances are as a good as every team. It’s going to be an unpredictable series,” Cadavillo said.
The opening games of the Series 9 will feature a match-up between the Alabang Tigers and the Batangas Bulls at 8 a.m., the Taguig Tigers and the Manila Sharks at 11 a.m. and the Cebu Dolphins and the Dumaguete Uni-bikers at 2 p.m.
The Sharks will face the Cebu Dolphins in a rematch of the Series 8 titular showdown on April 1 at the Rizal Stadium at 8 a.m. Dumaguete battles Alabang at 11 a.m. while Batangas goes up against Taguig at 2 p.m.