Early last month, the Philippine Men’s Softball Team, also known as the RP Blu Boys, secured a spot in the 2022 Men’s Softball World Cup, taking place from November 26 to December 4. Here, 10 teams will compete in a 50-game tournament for the World Championship.
And just this week, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) released the 2022 Men’s Softball World Cup schedule. On the opening day of the tournament, the Philippines is set to open with a game against the United States.
Making it to the world stage
The RP Blu Boys booked their ticket to the World Cup after their performance in the Asian Men’s Softball Championship in Japan last September.
In the tournament, the other Asian teams challenged the Blu Boys. The Philippine team lost to Singapore and Japan in the Super Round matches. However, they were still able to win against India and secure a spot in the finals.
Although the team eventually lost the championship to Japan, making it to the finals was enough to launch them to the top competition: the Men’s Softball World Cup.
The Blu Boys’ qualification marks the national team’s 11th appearance in the tournament. In the last edition held in 2019, the team finished in 16th place. Historically, their best performance was in 1968 when the Philippines earned a fourth-place finish.
This year, the Blu Boys will definitely be seeking to improve their record and prove themselves on the world stage.
Tough competition at the World Cup
This year’s Men’s Softball World Cup will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from November 26 to December 4. In the 50-game tournament, the Philippines have been drawn into Group A, consisting of high-ranking teams.
Included in Blu Boys’ group are Argentina, ranked first in the world, the Czech Republic, ranked fifth, New Zealand in sixth, the United States in seventh, and Cuba, ranked 12th. Comparatively, the Philippines are currently ranked 21st in the world.
In fact, including all 12 teams included in the World Cup, the Philippines are coming into the tournament as the underdogs as the lowest-ranked team.
However, despite competing against higher-ranked and experienced teams, the Blu Boys will nonetheless still prove their skill on the field. In the Asian Men’s Softball Championship last September, the Philippines impressed with an 8-1 win over a higher-ranked team, India.
The win ultimately launched them into the World Cup.
After the 30-game opening round starting this November, the top three finishers from each group will advance to the Super Round. The top two teams from the Super Round will go on to compete in the World Championship Final, while the third and fourth teams will compete for third place.
Meanwhile, the remaining six teams will compete in the Placement Round.
“We are determined to give our 100% in the upcoming matches and show the world what the Philippine team is capable of,” head coach Apol Rosales shared after their tournament in Japan.
As the team gears up for the World Cup next month, the Blu Boys will be in for a challenge, but it is regardless a challenge that they have worked toward and are up to face.