PH Blu Girls eye foreign training ahead of World Cup

(L-R) Celine Ojare, Ann Antolihao, and CJ Roa of the Philippine Blu Girls. (PSA photo/Handout)

The Philippine women’s softball team is hoping to receive foreign training and exposure ahead of their campaign in the Women’s Softball World Cup in July.

The Blu Girls qualified to the group stages after finishing fourth in the recent Women’s Softball Asia Cup in Incheon, South Korea. It’s the first time they will play in the flagship event since 2018.

Ranked No. 4 in Asia, the Blu Girls are bracketed with hosts Italy, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, and New Zealand in Group C.

“That’s why we need more foreign exposure. Alam naman ng coaches natin na ‘yun ang kulang,” team captain and starting pitcher Ann Antolihao in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“We’re happy na nakabalik tayo sa World Cup,” added Antolihao, who was joined by pitcher CJ Roa and catcher Celine Ojare.

All three players reiterated the need for foreign exposure heading to the World Cup, where the top two teams in each group will be assured of spots in the final stage in 2024.

The Blu Girls made it to the World Cup with an all-homegrown lineup, and under the guidance of coaches Ray Pagkaliwagan, Randy Dizer and Anthony Santos, and the support of ASAPHIL president Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Roa said the hope within the team is for a training camp in Japan, where they can play tune-up matches against top teams.

“High-level training talaga sa Japan kahit sa tuneup games with university schools. Kaya kung bibigyan kami ng chance, sana sa Japan,” said the pitcher from University of Santo Tomas.

“Skills wise meron naman po tayo dito. Pero kulang tayo sa exposure,” added Roa.

The Blue Girls also have players from, Bacolod, Bukidnon, Batanes, and Makati.

The Blu Girls played eight games in Incheon, beating Hong Kong (7-0), South Korea (2-0), Singapore (8-1), Thailand (10-0) and India (10-0) and bowing to Japan (9-1) despite taking a 4-0 lead in the first inning, China (6-2) and Chinese-Taipei (5-0).

There is no final lineup yet for the World Cup, though the decision may come when the team resumes training on April 24. (ABS-CBN News)