It will be a busy 2019 for the Amateur Softtball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL), as the organization gears for three major tournaments that will test the mettle of the country’s national softball teams, the RP Blu Girls and the RP Blu Boys.
Particularly in the spotlight is the women’s national softball team, commonly known as the RP Blu Girls who will continue their quest for a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The girls are slated to see action at the Women’s Softball Asia Cup happening from May 1 to 7 in Jakarta, Indonesia where the top six teams will move on to the Asia-Oceania Softball Olympic Qualifier in Shanghai, China.
Meanwhile, the men’s national team, fresh from a stellar 2018 season, is one of the formidable contenders for the Men’s World Championships slated in June. By end of the year, both teams will see action as the Philippines host the South East Asian Games.
ASAPHIL president Jean Henri Lhuillier remains confident on the skills of both teams, “For the past two years, both the RP Blu Girls and Blu Boys have grown tremendously – proving the world that the Philippines can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most powerful softball teams,” he said. Under Lhuillier’s tutelage, both national teams have improved their skills—thanks to the continuous training, exposure to tournaments and material support made available by the sports patron.
On top of the upcoming tournaments, ASAPHIL has begun its grassroots program reaching out to local softball teams of all ages across the country in order to discover, train and retain the next line of future softball superstars. Lhuillier also opened the try-outs to the Blu Girls to foreign-born players of Philippine descent, giving them the opportunity to represent the Philippines in the global stage.
The move proved to be a smart one, as this led to the discovery of outstanding talents playing in division 1 schools in the United States, donning the Philippine colors and making the country proud following the resurgence of the Blu Girls in the international arena.
ASAPHIL’s commitment to resurrect softball in the Philippines did not go unnoticed by the international community. Late last year, Lhuillier was named as vice president for Softball Asia, the continental governing body for softball in the region tasked to further grow and advance the sport in the region.