Federation Focus: Fourth year of popular feature series starts with Philippines Softball

Federation Focus: Fourth year of popular feature series starts with Philippines Softball

Federation Focus: Fourth year of popular feature series starts with Philippines Softball

A key to softball development in East Asia, the Philippines returned to play after strict COVID-19 regulations put activity on hold in 2020 and 2021. The Men’s Softball National Team climbed to No. 15 in the world.

The 2023 Federation Focus series opens in the Philippines. It’s the fourth year, and the 32nd Federation featured in the series.

The Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) is the governing body for the sport in the country. Jean Henri is the president.

You may also be interested in:
The 2022 Federation Focus series

Born in 1969, he is a businessman and diplomat. Luhillier is the President and CEO of the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies, which operates and manages Cebuana Lhuillier, the largest micro-financial institution in the Philippines. He has supported the sports scene in the Philippines for more than three decades

The COVID-19 pandemic proved particularly challenging. In 2020 and 2021, softball stopped activity like all sports requiring interaction due to the country’s regulations.

American troops introduced softball in the Philippines as indoor baseball in 1911. The game was renamed softball in the United States only in 1930.

Softball, or indoor baseball, became the sport of choice among women in the Bicol and Visayas regions. The Philippines advocated the new sport. They demonstrated indoor baseball at the Far Eastern Games in Shangai, China, in 1915. Soon after, the game became an official event in public schools.

In the Philippines, the locals know the softball teams as Blu Boys and Blu Girls and these names have been synonymous with success.

The Philippines hosted the first Asian Women’s Softball Championship in 1967 and the first Men’s Softball Championship in 1968. The country soon developed a competitive women’s National Team with the Philippines claiming a bronze medal in Osaka, Japan, in the 1970 Women’s World Cup. They have participated in seven editions but failed to qualify from 1998 to 2016. They are now No. 30 in the Women’s Softball World Rankings.

The Philippines have participated in 11 Men’s Softball World Cups with their best finish a fourth place in 1968 in Oklahoma City, USA. They hosted the event in 1992 and finished seventh.

The Blu Boys are known as a powerhouse team in the Southeast Asian region, but their loss in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games to Singapore brought shock to the softball community in the country.

When they qualified to the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup in New Zealand, this had a redeeming effect that saw the community follow the progress of the team closely on their World Cup journey.

President Lhuillier celebrated the qualification of the National Team for the XVII edition last year where they finished 10th with a 2-6 record, improving on a 16th-place finish in the 2019 edition in Czechia.

It was the Philippines’ first win of the tournament against Denmark, which hit the headlines in the Asian country. The highlights video went viral on Facebook in particular.

Filipinos have a small community in softball, but it’s a very solid group especially when they hear or see news about the Blu Boys/Girls success in international competitions.

Many big media outlets in the Philippines also followed the results of the team, mainly because of the updates from the Philippine Sports Commission, who has its own press corps in Manila. Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer are two of the biggest news publishing companies in the Philippines with online presence – both covered the progress of the Blu Boys at the Men’s Softball World Cup.

CNN Philippines and ABS-CBN News (top TV network) also covered news about the Blu Boys, which provided great coverage of the Blu Boys and the event.

The two wins at the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup by the Philippines over Denmark and South Africa saw them climb to No. 15 in the Men’s Softball World Rankings.