Philippines underlined not to under-estimate them just because they are represented by a school team from Bacolod City, when they defeated Hong Kong 7-0, in their opening Group A match in the U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 at the Pingtan Softball Stadium, China this morning.
Philippines are represented by Bacolod City High School from the Visayas, who are the national and Asia Pacific champions, qualified to represent Philippines in the World Series for Under14 to Under 16 in the USA in August.
Having finished fifth in the World Series, their small sized physique can be deceiving, as they demolished Hong Kong by taking a two run lead in the first inning and another five runs in the fifth inning to chalk their win.
Hong Kong failing to get a run in the top sixth inning, Philippines won the game 7-0 on the run ahead rule not having to take the field for the sixth inning.
“It is a great way to start the tournament, but we are not going to get complacent as we have tough matches ahead of us,” said Philippines coach Sheirylou Valenzuela.
“We give 100 percent in every game and treat every game as a championship game. Although our pitching is not good, we still managed to do well enough in other areas to win today.
“Our girls may look small, but they are experienced lot, having competed in the World Series, where they finished fifth.
“But we are realistic about our chances here, as there are much more experienced and better teams.
“Our realistic target here is to finish at least third and qualify for the World Cup.”
Hong Kong, on the hand, admitted that they are here for the experience.
“As much as we want to do well here, we know, we lack the experience,” said team manager Ko Tzu Chao.
“Like today, we started off well and I was happy with our pitcher although were trailing by two runs. But we got nervous as the match progressed and our outfield fields were far from their best.”
Ko said it will be difficult for Hong Kong to target for a World Cup berth, but said they will give their best shot in every game and did not rule out for any surprises as nothing was impossible.
Philippines play host China tomorrow, while Hong Kong play Korea.
In the second game of the morning, favourite Japan’s opponent India, still had not checked in Pingtan.
“India’s official got in touch with us and said that they were delayed because of some documentation issues but said they will be coming,” said Datuk Low Beng Choo, the Softball Asia president.
“All we can do is wait for them to arrive, as they have said they are travelling and when they arrive we will make decision. We will also speak to the teams who were supposed to play them.”
However, the Official Rules Book says that if a team fails to show up for the game, the game will be forfeited with a 7-0 win to the opponent.
Japan arrived at the Stadium for their scheduled game for the routine check-in for the match, before the umpire called off the game with India not showing up.
Japan are down to play Chinese Taipei, while India are down to play Singapore in the opening game of the day at 8.30am.
This is not the first time India have has issues arriving in time for the various Softball Asia tournaments.
U18 Women Softball Asia Cup 2023 (Pingtan Softball Stadium, Pingtan, China)