Softball to contribute two gold medals to PH cache
The Blu Boys and the Blu Girls—as what the Philippine softball teams are called—are expected to sweep the Southeast Asian Games gold medals on the diamond of New Clark City (NCC) next month.
Still, competition manager Jun Veloso said they are taking no chances when the action unfurls on Dec. 2-8.
“We don’t want to say it’s sure gold medals, but our teams are well-prepared and highly motivated to win the gold medals for the country,” Veloso told the Inquirer.
The women’s team, for example, is only fielding one Fil-American for the SEA Games, short stop Garie Blando, who was a former standout at University of Las Vegas.
Two more Fil-Ams—mainstays Hailey Decker and Dani Gilmore—were ready to play, but they were not listed for the SEA Games final lineup.
Veloso didn’t offer any reason why, but pundits said the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines might have decided calling them over would be overkill.
The Blu Girls have won every SEA Games gold disputed: All nine of them in 1979, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2015, and this batch of Nationals will have a formidable rotation of pitchers including Mary Ann Antoleh Hao, Ezra Jalandoni, Lyka Basa and Kikay Palma.
Decorated team manager Randy Dizer will call the shots for the Blu Girls.
The men’s team, which only lost the gold in 1997, will have Marlon Pagkalinawan, Leo Barredo and Reagan Park as pitchers.
Veterans Ofring dela Cruz and Apol Rosales will be at the forefront for the Blu Boys, who have been revamped to include the youth team that placed second in the 2017 Asian junior championship.
“At this point, we are concerned of keeping the players fit and healthy, avoiding any injury until the competition,” Veloso said.
One of their focus is the adjustment from the bouncier “skinned infield” of Rizal Memorial Baseball Field to the grassy “The Villages” field inside NCC.
They are expected to arrive at NCC on Nov. 24.