TEAM Manila-Philippines guns for a finals berth and a chance to reclaim the world crown when it battles USA Southwest Champion District 5-Louisiana in one of two semifinal crossover matches in the 2015 World Series Girls Big League Championships at the Layton Field of the Pyles Center on Saturday in Lower Sussex in Delaware (Sunday, Manila time).
The Asia Pacific Champion is unbeaten, beating USA West Champion Antelope Valley-California, USA Southeast’s Morganton-North Carolina, and USA Central’s South Bend-Indiana to top its Pool in the group competition.
In Pool B, Lousiana, 3-1, won over Latin America Champion San Juan-Puerto Rico, Europe/Africa’s Milan–Italy, and USA East’s Kent County–Delaware, but lost to the 2014 World Series defending champion USA Host District 3 Millsboro-Delaware, which is leading the bracket.
Composed of the finest 18-under UAAP batters from University of Sto. Tomas, National University, University of the East, and UAAP champion Adamson University, the Manila batters are gearing up to hurdle its semifinal assignment.
The Big City softbelles, backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, Philippine Airlines, and the International Container Terminal Services, Inc., will face Louisiana at 5 p.m. (Sunday 5:00 a.m. Sunday, Manila time) to be followed by the other semi-final match between Antelope Valley–California and host Millsboro–Delaware.
Manila Little League president Rafael “Che” Borromeo, former City Councilor and now Senior Executive Assistant to Mayor Estrada, is upbeat about the Team’s chances of reclaiming the crown in the event. Manila won the 2012 Girls Big League World Series.
“I believe the girls have what it takes to win and that they will give it all they have got,” said Borromeo.
Expected to lead the way for Team Manila are game are pitchers Mary Ann Antolihao of UST, as well as Riflayca Basa of Adamson University, reinforced by catcher Maria Celestine Palma, who already has hit two homeruns in just three games, third baseman Christy Joy Roa of UST, first baseman Florabelle Pabiania of Adamson, and outfielder and third baseman Shaira Damasing of NU, who are members of the Philippine Blu Girls that won the 2015 Singapore Southeast Asian Games Softball championship.
“We are expecting our veterans and standout players to step up a notch higher and deliver at this stage of the Series, because we cannot afford to waste this opportunity,” said head coach Anna Santiago.