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SEAGAMES 2019

Blu Girls extend reign

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CHESKA Almonte (right) and Garie Blando celebrate after leading the Blu Girls to the women’s softball title.  ROMAN PROSPERO @tribunephl_RRP 

CAPAS CITY — As expected, the Blu Girls asserted their dominance as they posted an 8-0 win over Indonesia to clinch the gold medal in the women’s softball event of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Sunday at The Villages inside the New Clark City here.

The national softbelles displayed their brilliance in the second inning as they forced the Indons the mercy rule in the third inning to formally bag their 10th straight SEA Games gold medal.

“It feels great that we won the gold medal here and it feels even better that we won it for the first time here in the country,” said Blu Girls captain Cheska Altomonte.

“It’s the first time we actually played as a team here so it’s great. It felt really good to be playing in front of family and friends.”

The Blu Girls won all their matches in the preliminaries en route to a spectacular golden finish that extended their reign, which started 18 years ago.

“Of all the softball titles by the Blu Girls, this is the easiest and the sweetest,” team manager Randy Dizer said. “It’s because we played in our home court, and that’s the biggest thing.”

Dizer also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission and the Amateur Softball Association-Philippines (ASaPhil), which helped them in getting foreign exposure.

Bannered by Altomonte, Garie Blando, Mary Ann Antoleh Hao, Ezra Jalandoni, Lyka Basa and Kikay Palma, the Blu Girls have won SEA Games title in 1979, 1981, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2015.

The Philippine Blu Boys, however, were not as fortunate.

The Nationals succumbed to Singapore, 1-6, to suffer their first-ever defeat since losing to Indonesia in the 1997 edition of the biennial meet.

The Blu Boys earlier beat Singapore in the first round, 8-0, but fell in the semifinals, 4-3, prompting Dizer to conclude that they were still looking for cohesion since they are a relatively new squad.
“We were out-hit,” Dizer said. “They were the better team today.”

The Blu Boys finished 17th in the World Championships in China last year.

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