Blu Girls vow to play inspired in World Cup


THE Philippine Blu Girls are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to make the country proud in the Softball World Cup set July 22 to 27 in Italy.

“It’s going to be tough. We’re not going to win the World Cup but I think the team will do good and make the country proud,” catcher Cheska Altamonte, also the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (AsaPhil) secretary-general, told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

Joining Altamonte in the forum held at the Philippine Sports Commission Conference Hall in Manila were first baseman Elsie dela Torre.

“We’re prepared, we’ve been training hard,” said De la Torre ahead of the team’s departure for Italy on Sunday.

It will be the Blu Girls’ seventh stint in the World Cup since 1970 when the country registered its best finish—third—in Osaka, Japan.

The forthcoming stint won’t be, Altamonte added in the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Philippine Sports Commission, Milo, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

In the 18-team World Cup, where the United States is the defending champion, the Blu Girls are bracketed with three-time champion Japan, Canada, Venezuela, New Zealand and host Italy.

Their first game will be against the Canadians on July 22.

“There are six teams in this World Cup that made it to the Tokyo Olympics and three of them are in our bracket [Japan, Canada and Italy],” Altamonte said.

“We’ve beaten Japan but we’ve never played Italy. New Zealand, we’ve won against them. And Venezuela is the most frustrating for us because we had chances of beating them,” Altamonte said. “Canada we’ve won against in 2017.”

“That’s why it has to be a perfect game,” said Altamonte, adding that she won’t be playing all matches to give the other catchers in the Blu Girls lineup the chance to compete against the world’s best.

“Now, the majority of our players are homegrown because that’s part of the program aimed at elevating the level of play here,” she said. “We have a lot of new players. But you can see them growing and getting better.”

The Blu Girls will try to make the most of their World Cup stint as they prepare for the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September, and hope for a podium finish.

“A podium finish is very realistic. I believe we can do it,” she said of the Blu Girls, whose best finish in the Asian Games was fourth in 2014 in Incheon and 2018 in Jakarta.

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