PH Blu Girls raring for more foreign exposure as softball World Cup beckons

JR Isaga

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PH Blu Girls raring for more foreign exposure as softball World Cup beckons

WORLD-CLASS. Philippine women's softball team members (left to right) Celine Ojare, captain Ann Antolihao, and CJ Roa speak at the PSA Forum

Philippine Sportswriters Association

The Philippine women's softball team, also known as the Blu Girls, seek training in Japan among other overseas options as they earn a spot in the 2023 World Cup this July in Italy

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s softball team is more than ready to improve its craft overseas in preparation for the 2023 World Cup this July 22 to 26 in Italy.

Four years since their last World Cup berth, the Blu Girls are taking a stiff challenge head-on as the Philippines is bracketed with powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Venezuela, New Zealand, and host Italy.

“That’s why we need more foreign exposure. Our coaches know that’s what is lacking,“ said team captain and starting pitcher Ann Antolihao at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on Tuesday, April 11.

The Blu Girls qualified after a fourth-place finish in the Women’s Softball Asia Cup in Incheon, where they amassed a 5-3 record with wins against Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, India, and host South Korea.

“We’re happy that we returned to the World Cup,” Antolihao added.

Joining her in the all-homegrown roster for the World Cup are pitcher CJ Roa and catcher Celine Ojare, who both echoed the need for overseas tune-ups. Other players in the local lineup include standouts from Bacolod, Bukidnon, Batanes, and Makati City.

“We would want high-level training in Japan even with just tune-up games with universities,” Roa said in Filipino. “If given a chance, we really hope to go to Japan.”

“Skill-wise, we’re already good. We just need the exposure,” she added.

Antolihao said there’s no final World Cup lineup yet, noting that it will be up to the coaches. The decision may come when the team resumes training on April 24. –

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