Philippine baseball is set for grand comeback from COVID-19 from the get-go as the country’s women’s baseball team still plans to see action in the 2021 Women’s Baseball World Cup in Tijuana, Mexico.
The biennial world championship was initially slated to be staged in 2020 but was postponed to this year due to the pandemic. So far, it still has the green light to host the 12 qualified teams from March 1 to 9, 2021.
As the Philippines is running on the momentum of its Cinderella run in the 2019 Women’s Baseball Asian Cup, the country hopes break into the top 10 in their upcoming World Cup stint.
“This is the best time for us to move up in the standings in the world. We can even break into the top 10,” said Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) vice president Boy Tingzon in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday, January 12.
In the 2019 Asian Cup, which served as the World Cup qualifier, the newly-established Philippine women’s baseball team defeated world No. 7 South Korea, 14-7; and world No. 10 Hong Kong, 12-3 in the group stages.
It also recorded a breakthrough 6-2 win over China in the Super Round that allowed the country to secure the bronze finish and a World Cup berth.
However, the world tournament is packed with powerhouse squads like world No. 1 and defending champion Japan, No. 2 Canada and title contender Chinese-Taipei, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the world.
It remains a tall task for the Philippine women’s baseball team which has not resumed training since the country went into lockdown in March 2020.
Tingzon said that he had requested the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to allow the team to enter the “Calambubble” that has been set up for Tokyo 2020 Olympics hopefuls at the National University (NU) INSPIRE Sports Academy.
“It’s the commitment now that we’re asking from the players. From the start of the bubble until Mexico, hindi na kami makakauwi. Malaking sakripisyo ito (we won’t be going home anymore. This is a big sacrifice),” said Tingzon.
But Tingzon feels assured of the team’s commitment given how the women’s baseball program was officially revived only in 2018, and they managed to rise to World No. 15 in a span of a year.
PABA’s women’s baseball program began by recruiting softball players and converting them to baseball players, as the federation believed that Filipinos have a chance to excel on the global stage.
“That’s my hats off to the girls on how they persevered. The determination is different – they want to excel, they want to perform, they want to do things. When they set their minds to it, they can do many things,” Tingzon said. – Rappler.com