The RP Blu Girls will channel all the heartbreaks they experienced over the past year and turn it into motivation in the 2019 WBSC Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifier.
The tournament has one slot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at stake. It begins on Tuesday, September 24, at the Shanghai Sports Training Center in China.
And the team is going all-out to reach that Olympic dream.
“Softball is back in the Olympics, and we want to be there for the first time,” said head coach Randy Dizer during the pre-tournament press conference.
“We have come here fully prepared, and I believe playing against men teams has made the team well-prepared for the challenge here.”
The Philippines is currently ranked 13th in the world. It is slotted with host and world no. 8 China, no. 11 New Zealand, and no. 23 South Korea. The top two teams in each group advance to the super round, while the last team standing advances to the Tokyo Games.
Serving as team captain is catcher Cheska Altomonte.
The pitchers for the squad are ex-UST ace Ann Antolihao, UAAP Finals MVP Lyca Basa, young Adamson phenom Ezra Jalandoni, and Fil-Ams Logan Caymol and Sierra Lange.
Composing the rest of the squad are Garnet Blando (SS), Sky Ellazar (2B), Angelu Gabriel (UTL), Reese Guevarra (OF), MJ Maguad (2B, RF), Chelsea Suitos (LF), Angelie Ursabia (UTL), Arianne Vallestero (UTL), and Lauren Young (IF).
To prepare for this tournament, the team competed in various tournaments in the States while facing men’s teams in the country.
The Philippines qualified for this tournament after finishing in fourth place in the 2019 Asian Women’s Softball Championship. Ursabia was the Best Hitter and Best Slugger of the tournament that saw beat South Korea in the quarterfinals, 5-1, before bowing to Japan and Chinese-Taipei in the semis and third-place game respectively with identical 0-10 lines.
The Blu Girls begin their campaign against South Korea on Tuesday at 5:30 pm.