Philippine Blu Boys training hard for World Championship glory

THE PHILIPPINE Blu Boys is now training day and night to achieve what they sought for from the start — World Championship glory.

“Although we’re ranked the lowest out of the 12 who made it to Auckland, our mindset is always to win,” said national men’s softball team coach Apol Rosales in yesterday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.

The Filipinos are the only team not ranked inside the Top 12 as they are currently at No. 21 in the world.

But despite being lowly ranked, the Blu Boys still barged into the World tilt by finishing second to the mighty Japanese in last month’s Asian Cup in Kochi, Japan.

They are bracketed with reigning world champion Argentina and will face a powerhouse United States in the opener of the meet slated Nov. 26 to Dec. 4 in a group that included the Czech Republic, Cuba and host New Zealand in Group A.

Japan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, South Africa and Venezuela comprise the other group.

And with just over a month to go, the team is the thick of preparation.

In fact, they’re training in the morning at the historic Rizal Memorial Baseball Field every morning to accommodate the college players from the team and at night at the Manila Polo Club in Makati for all.

For the pitchers, Mr. Rosales said they’ve hired a former national team pitcher to do sharpen their tools.

“We’re doing some spot pitching to help us prepare more,” said Juliuz Rosh dela Cruz, a 19-year-old pitcher from Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

The extra load, 24-year-old first base man Julius dela Cruz said, is worth the sacrifice.

“We’re working harder because we’re seeking glory for the country,” said the La Salle baseball standout converted into softball in response to the call of the national team duty. — J. Villar