Blu Boys off to NZ


By CLYDE MARIANO

Manila, Philippines – The RP Blu Boys leave today for New Zealand confident of figuring prominently in the World Men Softball championship slated on March 1 in Christchurch.

Fully equipped and loaded with all the logistics from their arsenal, the Filipinos will match prowess against the world’s best teams in the 16-team biennial meet sanctioned by the International Softball Federation.

Handled by veteran coach Roberto Ituralde, the Filipinos seek to win back the championship which their their predecessors bag in 1990 at the Rosario diamond in Pasig City.

“The boys are all in high spirits. I am optimistic they will perform prominently because they have sufficient training and preparation,” said Ituralde.

Former Ateneo cager and ASAPHIl official Danny Francisco remains positive the Filipinos would do well because they are well equipped and have enough foreign exposure.

“The coaching staff screened thoroughly the credentials of the players to make the team highly competitive,” said Francisco.

The Blue Boys qualified to the world tourney following their decent showing in the Asian Softball qualifying in Japan last year.

The Philippines is one of three Asian teams along with Japan and Indonesia taking part in the quadrennial meet.

The team leaves early to acclimatize to the weather condition in New Zealand. While there, they will play in tuneup games against foreign teams.

“We have to leave early to get familiar with the cold weather condition and familiarize the real condition of the playing field,” noted Ituralde, who watched Game 1 of the best-of-three title series between UAAP defending champion National University and Ateneo which the Blue Eagles won.

The team is powered by five talented pitchers who are all veterans of various international competitions: Florante Acuña, Rogelio Rojas, Leo Barredo, George Marquez and Marlon Pagkaliwagan.

Pagkaliwagan is a nephew of former Blu Boys pitchers Rey and Ronelon Pagkaliwagan. Ronelon was a former pitching coach of China’s national softball team.

Rey Pagkaliwagan, Joel Binarao and Rezel Santos served as assistant coaches to Ituralde.

The trip is supported by ASAPHIL and backed by Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Source: http://www.tempo.com.ph/2013/02/blu-boys-off-to-nz/#.USQ489S4RqM