The Philippine Blu Boys will play their first international competition in almost three years in the Asia Cup from September 3 to 7 in Kochi Shimanto, Japan.
The 17-man team will leave on Monday, Aug. 29, to prepare for the high-level tournament which has two slots at stake for the Men’s Softball World Cup scheduled later this year in New Zealand.
Head coach Apol Rosales told RP2 that the current Blu Boys, mostly composed of rookies and only have six seniors in the fold, are actually better than the previous squad since they are younger and faster.
The Philippines is bracketed with Thailand and Singapore, the same team which handed them a stinging defeat in the 2019 SEA Games final.
The other group includes Chinese Taipei, India, Hong Kong and host Japan. Only the top two teams of each bracket will advance to the semifinals.
The finalists will earn tickets to the World Cup.
ASAPHIL culled the team out from 115 aspirants who attended the tryouts last January.
Among those selected were from the University of the Philippines, University of Sto Tomas, Adamson, La Salle, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Army.
Consisting the Blu Boys are Jerome Bacarisas, Denmark Bathan, Leo Barredo, Melvin de Castro, Julius dela Cruz, Julius Diaz, Lyonas de Leon, Mark Gaspi, Francis Generoso, Ian Mercado, Leonel Matanguihan, Marlon and Michael Pagkaliwagan, Gerone Riparip, Reagan Parco, Justine Rosales, and Kenneth Torres.
Aside from Rosales, also in the coaching staff are Edwin Mercado, Jasper Cabrera,and Raymund Pagkaliwagan.
ASAPHIL Secretary General Cheska Altomonte and Paulo Tabirara complete the delegation.