THE PHILIPPINES missed its last chance at a World Cup berth after falling to Czechia, 4-2, over the weekend in the 18th WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup group stage in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Needing a win to claim a spot in the playoff round, the Cebuana Lhuillier-bankrolled Blu Boys just couldn’t get anything going with mishits and costly fielding errors in the middle innings that sent them crashing to the sixth and last place in Group A with a 1-4 record.

The Blu Boys almost pulled off a shocking upset of the mighty Venezuelans, who ended up sweeping the bracket in five matches, in the first match of their double-header early in the day before eventually succumbing in another heartbreaking setback, 3-2.

Had the Filipinos won one of the two or both, they would have advanced to the next round where they could have sneaked into the repechage phase in which the winner claims the second and last slot to next year’s World Cup.

Instead, Australia (2-3) and Mexico (2-3) edged Czechia (2-3) via tiebreak and claimed those two spots behind Venezuela (5-0) and Dominican Republic (4-1).

Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines president Jean Henri Lhuillier said the team put up a decent fight in an ultra-competitive field.

“While today’s result isn’t what we hoped for, it will serve as fuel for our next attempt at the World Cup,” Mr. Lhuillier said. — Joey Villar