DELAWARE – Team Manila held three days of grueling training and acclimatization sessions at the St. John’s University in New York before proceeding here in time for the opening of the 2015 World Series Girls Big League Softball Championship.
The Big City softbelles, composed of the finest 18-under UAAP batters from University of Sto. Tomas, National University, University of the East, and UAAP girls softball champion Adamson University, are gearing up to reclaim the world crown it won in the 2012 edition of the meet at the Pyles Center in Lower Sussex here. prestigious event.
The team boosted its already powerhouse cast by tapping Maria Celestine Palma and third baseman Christy Joy Roa of UST, first baseman Florabelle Pabiania of Adamson, and outfielder and third baseman Shaira Damasing of NU.
All four players are members of the Philippine Blu Girls that won the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games softball championship.
The Asia Pacific champions, backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Philippine Airlines, and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), will battle USA West’s Antelope Valley, California on their opening game on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) at the Layton Field of the Pyles Center.
Former Manila Councilor and Manila Little League President Rafael ‘Che’ Borromeo, who is also Senior Executive Assistant to Manila Mayor Erap Estrada, is upbeat of the team’s chances of reclaiming the crown.
“I think this is quite a strong team and I believe that the pool bracketing is also a bit favorable to us,” said Borromeo. “These girls come from poor families with a promise of free college education from reputable schools in Manila and that is our advantage because these girls will surely give it all they've got for the opportunity dahil para sa bayan na ito.”
“Tingin ko malakas at malalim ang team natin ngayon, pinaghalong beterano at rookies, mas malakas pa nga siguro kesa sa team natin na nag champion nung 2012 at saka napagrupo pa tayo sa maganda,” added head coach Anna Santiago.
Four standout pitchers led by veteran Mary Ann Antolihao of UST, and the trio of Riflayca Basa, Arlyn Bautista, and Princess Mae Jurado of Adamson University will power Team Manila, which is bracketed in Pool A together with USA Central’s South Bend, Indiana, USA Southeast’s Morganton, and North Carolina
Canada, also bracketed in Pool A, has already withdrawn from the Series.
Pool B are five other regional champions with two teams from host Delaware led by 2014 World Series Big League defending champions USA Host District III and USA East’s Kent County, together with Latin America’s San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA Southwest’s Louisiana, and Europe/Africa’s Milano, Italia.