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PHL men’s softball team clinches 3rd at Asia Cup

THE PHILIPPINES repeated over Hong Kong, 7-0, yesterday to seal a third-place finish in the WBSC Men’s Softball Asia Cup in Kochi, Japan and a spot in World Cup.

Juliuz Rosh dela Cruz was at the center of the storm and dominated from the mound, pitching a one-hitter in five innings.

Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines president Jean Henri Lhuillier lauded the Jasper Cabrera-coached team for the feat.

“We are more than proud of our boys as they showed how passion can lead to victory. Their hard work definitely paid off and we are more than glad to support them as they prepare for the World Cup,” he said.

The Philippines now has four teams eligible for the World Cup, the other three being the Blu Girls, the co-ed slo-pitch team and the women’s Under-15 squad.

First baseman John Norwen Lucas blasted a double to left centerfield that sent designated player Melvin de Castro and shortstop Justine John Rosales safely home to open things up for the Filipinos, who seized a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the third inning.

It opened the floodgates as centerfielder Kenneth Torres singled to right for two more RBIs (runs batted in), right-fielder John Israel Antonio added one RBI with a single to middle and third baseman Michael Pagkaliwagan scored on a stolen base that capped the 6-0 blitz during the inning.

The Hong Kongese, who were still reeling from an 8-0 beating they suffered from the Filipinos the day before, were never the same from there and settled for fourth place.

World power Japan and 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold winner Singapore were battling for the gold at deadline time. — Joey Villar

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