MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Blu Girls are on their way to the United States to compete in the World Cup IX in Irvine, California, as well as hold a two-month training camp ahead of their campaign in the Asian Games.
The Blu Girls will participate in the World Cup of Softball IX starting July 7, where they will go against Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela. The Japanese national team is the defending champion.
"They are all contenders in the World Cup," Blu Girls head coach Venerando Dizer said. "But looking at the statistics, the bio datas of the Fil-Ams that will join us, I think we have a chance."
Dizer said they are bringing 15 local players to the tournament, where they will be joined by eight Filipino-American players, all of whom play in the Division 1 of the US NCAA.
"Credentials pa lang, talagang malakas," said Dizer.
The tournament will also be a tryout of sorts for the Blu Girls, as only 15 of them will be included in the line-up that will be competing in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
"Right after the World Cup, we'll form the 15-man roster for the Asian Games, so really, they have to fight for their position," said Dizer.
The team is keeping Incheon in mind even as they compete in the World Cup, and the players are thankful for the chance to train in Las Vegas for two months ahead of the Asian Games.
"We're very excited na pupunta kami sa States, kasi first time na doon kami magte-training sa US," said team captain Alex Zuluaga. "Tapos, ang mga kalaban namin sa World Cup ay mga teams na never pa namin nakita."
"Yung nakita lang talaga namin na mag-play ay Japan at Chinese Taipei, and sila din 'yung kalaban namin sa Asian Games. So it's gonna be good, especially for the rookies on the team, na ma-scout din namin sila when we're in the World Cup," she added.
Dizer revealed that after the two-week World Cup, they will go to Las Vegas to train for two months, and from there, go straight to Incheon.
"We don't want them to go home and forget softball," the coach said. "So it's all softball from Day 1… They will do nothing but softball."
The goal for the team is to earn a medal in the Asian Games, after having placed fourth in the last two stagings of the Asian Games.
The Blu Girls will start their campaign on July 7 against Puerto Rico, and will face Mexico the next day. -- From a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News