The Philippine women’s softball team made waves at the recent Asian Women’s Softball Championship in Taichung, Taiwan, beating two Asian powerhouses and bagging the silver medal to qualify for two major international tournaments next year.
The Blu Girls bowed to world no. 1 and defending champion Japan, 0-7, in the gold medal match of the 12-nation tournament held from November 29 to December 4. But that finish was good enough to book a slot for the country in the Asian Games in Jakarta and the Women’s Softball World Championship in Chibu, both happening in August 2018.
The Philippines, ranked 17th in the world, put up a 4-1 record in preliminary round play, good for second in Group A behind Japan’s clean 5-0 slate and a slot in the eight-nation page system playoffs. After dropping a 3-7 decision to world no. 9 Chinese Taipei in the first round of the playoffs, the Blu Girls blanked Hong Kong 17-0 in the quarterfinals before shocking world no. 6 China in the first stepladder semifinal game, 4-3, and getting revenge on Chinese Taipei, 5-3, in the second stepladder semifinal game to determine Japan’s gold medal match opponent.
“We landed second place losing to Japan in the championships 7-0,” said Blu Girls Coach Francis Diaz in a message to sports5.ph. “But all these after we beat world no. 6 China 4-3 in our first semis game, then we beat Taiwan 6-4 in our second step ladder semis game, and then losing that third game na championship play offs to Japan.
“For the feat, we qualified for both the Asian Games in Jakarta (top 5 in the league) and World Championships of Softball in Chiba, Japan (top 3 in the league) all in 2018.”
The goal of the team, which is backed by Cebuana Lhuillier, is to qualify for the 2020 Olympics through a strong showing at the world championships.