Near-bottom finish still earns raves for Blu Boys
Lost in the pile of losses that the Philippines’ Blu Boys stacked in the Softball World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, was the fact that the Filipinos actually left their mark on the tournament.
The Philippines finished just two places out of last place, but made a significant leap in the world rankings, rising from No. 21 to No. 10.
As it turned out, the young Blu Boys were ranged against the best in the world and forced those teams to gut victories out against them.
“They were surprised that we delivered an Under-23 team in the World Cup. We’re very proud of our players,” said coach Ray Pagkaliwagan in Monday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Notably impressed was powerhouse Argentina, which even offered the team a chance to train in South America.
“They only had a hard match against us. They even used their top pitchers, they couldn’t believe it,” Pagkaliwagan explained, after revealing the Argentines’ offer to train with them. “All we need to spend on is airfare, other expenses are on them.”
The Blu Boys were the lowest ranked team heading into the tournament, losing to Argentina, United States, Cuba, New Zealand and the Czech Republic in Group A.
The team rebounded in the Placement Round, defeating Denmark, 8-0, and South Africa, 4-0.
“[Our players] probably got used to having fast balls in Group A so they adjusted and hit the pitches in the Placement Round,” coach Sid Abello explained. INQ
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