PH faces tough draw in men's softball world championships
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s national men’s softball team is in for an uphill climb in the 2019 world championships as it is bunched together with defending champion New Zealand and Asian champion Japan in Group A.
"We have been working hard for this, and for the Blu Boys playing against the world's best teams, will certainly provide us with the needed international experience while allowing us to determine our improvement areas for the team," said Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) president Jean Henri Lhuillier.
He is confident that the team will give a good account of itself in the tournament which features the world's top 24 men's softball teams, including 17th-ranked Philippines.
For his part, Blu Boys head coach Eufracio de la Cruz echoed Lhuillier's optimism.
"I believe we have a big chance of making it to the top 10 as we have been preparing hard for this since we qualified," said de la Cruz as the top 4 teams from each group will advance to the playoffs.
Philippines, however, opened its campaign with a 2-11 loss to Cuba.
The Blu Boys aim to bounce back against 13th-ranked Botswana on June 15, then play world No. 5 Argentina on the following day.
Philippines faces No. 3-ranked Japan on June 17, host Czech Republic on June 18, and New Zealand on June 19.
The Blu Boys will wind up the qualifying round schedule with a game against Mexico on June 20.
Group B is led by powerhouse teams Canada, Australia, United States, Venezuela, along with Denmark, South Africa, Netherlands, and Singapore.
The event is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSF). – Rappler.com