Blu Boys keep representing country well even during pandemic
Leo Barredo is used to sizing up the man at the plate as the top pitcher for the Philippine softball team, one of the most dominant sides Southeast Asia has seen for decades now.
But with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic forcing sports all over the world into a standstill, Barredo and several other Blu Boys are working together to try and beat a totally different foe.
Nine members of the Southeast Asian Games silver medal-winning team are now in active duty in the military, serving as front-liners in the country’s battle against the pandemic. And like when they take the diamond wearing the Philippine red-white-and-blue, serving the country in another way gives them the same feeling of pride.
“It is very fulfilling to serve our country during this pandemic and to know that beyond our athletic capabilities, we can also be front-liners in this fight against an unseen enemy,” said Blu Boys team captain Michael Pagkaliwagan.
Joining Barredo and Pagkaliwagan are Denmark Bathan, Marlon Pagkaliwagan, Reagan Parco, Edmer del Socorro, Jerome Bacarisas and coaches Sid Abello and Oscar Bradshaw.
All of them except for Airman Michael, are with the Philippine Army.
The Blu Boys, which suffered a heartbreak in the SEA Games last year after losing to Singapore in the gold medal game, were starting a rebuild when the pandemic struck.
And they have they new tasks now, until things return to normal—or at least a semblance of that, when team sports will be allowed again.
Manning checkpoints, disinfecting surroundings and supporting the transfer of relief goods and medical supplies are what they do these days, vital tasks that help keep this country’s head above water.
“I salute their dedication in serving the country, whether through representing the Philippines in international softball tournaments, or keeping our communities safe from COVID-19 is truly commendable,” Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines president Jean Henri Lhuillier said.