AFTER a 15-year absence, the Blu Boys are back in the World Men’s Softball Championships set from June 13 to 24 in Prague, Czech Republic. The country’s national men’s softball team will face Cuba on June 14 in its first game in Group A where defending champion New Zealand and Asian champion Japan are also playing.
“We have been working hard for this, and for the Blu Boys playing against the world’s best teams, will certainly provide us with the needed international experience while allowing us to determine our improvement areas for the team,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, ASAPHIL president. He is confident that the team will give a good account of itself in the tournament which features the world’s top 24 men’s softball teams, including 17th-ranked Philippines.
For his part, Blu Boys head coach Eufracio de la Cruz echoed Lhuillier’s optimism. “I believe we have a big chance of making it to the top ten as we have been preparing hard for this since we qualified.” The top 4 teams from each group will advance to the playoffs.
Most of the teams that the Philippines will be facing in Group A are all higher-ranked. The Blu Boys will play against 13th-ranked Botswana on June 15, world no. 5 Argentina on the next day, no. 3 ranked Japan on June 17, and host Czech Republic the following day. The Blu Boys square off against New Zealand on June 19 and will wind up its qualifying round schedule with a game against Mexico on June 20.
Group B is led by powerhouse teams Canada, Australia, United States, Venezuela, along with Denmark, South Africa, Netherlands, and Singapore.
The event is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.