PH Blu Girls remain in medal hunt

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Philippine Blu Girls plunge into another tight double-header on Wednesday, hoping to stay in the medal hunt in the 18th Asian Games softball competition at the Gelura Bung Karno diamond.

Blu Girls team captain Chezka Altomonte is optimistic of a medal finish owing to the fire and enthusiasm of the softbelles who have swept the first three matches.

The Philippines faced Asian champion and No. 1 Japan late Tuesday before tackling the back-breaking two games on Wednesday against host Indonesia at 12:30 p.m. and against Chinese Taipei at 8 p.m. (both Jakarta time).

Against the Japanese, the Blu Girls are after vengeance. They lost to practically the same team in the final of the Asian Championships, 8-0.

“That is what we are aiming for (beat Japan),” Altamonte said. “We just don’t want to duplicate our effort in the Asian Championships but surpass it. Our team is in high spirit and we got fired up by the support of the local here.”

Softball federation officials, meanwhile, praised the Blu Girls’ performance so far.

“Our Blu Girls’ three successive wins against Hong Kong, Korea, and powerhouse China are testament to the talent and dedication of our women’s national softball team. They have what it takes to deliver a podium finish for the Philippines. I wish them luck and assure them of my full support as they continue to show their best in the Asian Games,” said Jean Henri Lhuillier, president of the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines.

The Blu Girls, Altamonte added, have bonded strongly despite missing several practice sessions because of the recent heavy rains and floods back home.

“The team is good our bonding is good despite we were not able to train as a team because of typhoon back in Manila,” she said. “We hope for the best as we play now as a team. We can’t relax, we had to get going,” Altomonte added.

The Blu Girls claimed their third straight victory at China’s expense, 1-0, late Monday night. They defeated Korea, 5-3, in a tightly-fought match earlier.

“That is a very important win [against Chinese Taipei] for us,” national coach Venerando Dizer said. “Nakatapak na ang isang paa namin sa next round.”

The top four teams will advance to a page system semifinal to determine the protagonists for the gold medal. The losers will square off for the bronze. (PSC Media Pool)