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Manila softbelles bid to retain title

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Team Manila aims to defend its crown in the Big League Softball World Series in the United States despite having only three holdovers from last year’s amazing title romp .

Coach Ana Santiago said Team Manila will boast more firepower and speed in the world championship for the 16-18 age division on Aug. 4 to 10 at Sussex County in Delaware.

“I think we have a strong chance of still making it to the championship game,” Santiago said in the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s Malate. “We now have the quickness. We also have seven power hitters, which was more than last year.”

Queeny Sabobo, Krisna Paguican and Baby Jane Raro will be the only returning players from last year’s team that reigned in Kalamazoo, Michigan where they overcame the odds on and off the field.

“Everything has been smoother compared to last year,” said Santiago, whose team finally got much deserved financial support from the government and private sectors.

Team Manila nearly skipped last year’s World Series due to lack of funds. After losing their first two games, the young softbelles strung up seven straight wins before routing California in the finals, 14-2, to capture the crown.

“Last year we had many veterans, so maybe the international pressure is the only concern we have for the new players,” said Santiago, who will bank on seven players from Adamson University, which has ruled the UAAP softball tournament in the last three seasons.

Team Manila earned a return trip to the World Series after bagging the Asia Pacific crown with a four-game sweep of the tournament at Clark Freeport Zone early this month.


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