The CNMI Senior All-Star Team is still in contention for a World Series ticket after making it to the semifinals of the 2018 Asia Pacific-Middle East Regional Tournament yesterday at the Global Villages, Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines.
The Doru Camacho-managed team moved into the Final Four following a 6-3 victory in a playoff game against Hong Kong. The win was only the second for the CNMI Senior All-Stars, who finished the preliminary with a 1-2 mark to place No. 5 in the seven-team field. However, it was enough to keep the squad in the race for a spot in the World Series.
The Commonwealth bets will need two more victories to rule the tournament and make it to Easley, South Carolina later this month. The first should come against rival Guam, which automatically marched into the semifinals after earning topping the preliminaries.
Guam is heavily favored in its semis game against the CNMI today at 7am as the former earned a perfect 4-0 going into the playoffs and defeated the latter, 10-3, in their earlier meeting last Sunday.
As underdogs, the CNMI Senior All-Stars could draw inspirations from India, which stunned New Zealand, 20-2, to barge into the semifinals opposite the Philippines. India came into the playoffs without a win after four games only to pull off the biggest upset in the tournament so far after hammering the No. 2 rank Kiwis.
Meanwhile, in the Junior League, the CNMI is also in the semifinals despite losing to Hong Kong, 4-7, in its last match in the elimination yesterday.
The CNMI Junior All-Stars finished the prelims with a 1-3 record and face a daunting task in today’s semifinals, as they take on the unbeaten and defending champion Chinese-Taipei. The Taiwanese shut down the Commonwealth players last Tuesday, 10-0, and have yet to surrender a single run to their opponents.
In the other semis pairing, the No. 2 Philippines will meet No. 3 Hong Kong with the former slightly favored in their duel, owing to the hosts’ 1-0 triumph against the visitors in the elimination round match last Monday.