Manila Softbelles gear up to defend World Series Crown

HEMET, CALIFORNIA – As part of its buildup for the 2018 PONY World Series 18-U Girls Softball Championships which kicked off today with an elaborate opening rites at the sprawling Diamond Valley Park, defending champion Team Manila–Philippines held a series of grueling training sessions at the Artesia Park in Cerritos, California before proceeding to this sunny and sizzling hot City in the Riverside County here.

The Big City softbelles, composed mainly of the finest 18-under batters from the UAAP 8–peat Champions Adamson University, is gearing up for its bid to defend the world crown it won in the 2017 edition of the prestigious PONY World Series.

Backed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), Team Manila–Philippines boasts of a youthful but experienced lineup, with all members having played in the World Series and other major international competitions.

And to boost its powerhouse roster, five standout pitchers led by last year’s World Series best pitcher Alma Tauli, veterans Shirlette Maygay and Karen Nicole Chavez of Adamson, Glory Alonzo from the Domingo Lacson National High School in Negros Occidental, and the 15-year old heavy-hitting Alexandra Isabel Romero–Salas from the Maria Montessori Children School in Paranaque, will strut their wares in this year’s event.

Manila Softball President Engr. Rafael “Che” Borromeo is upbeat of their chances of defending the crown in the event. “I think this is a well balanced and experienced team and I expect the girls to give a good account of themselves in this World Series,” said Borromeo.

Also expected to deliver are veteran catcher Aliza Pichon, shortstop Maria Angelu Gabriel, center fielder Khrisha Cantor, first baseman and outfielder Cleofe Magsayo, outfielder Alaiza Montejo Talisik, and second baseman Mary Joy Maguad of Adamson, as well as left fielder Jojielyn Lim and third baseman Madaelene Domaug from the Fortunato Halili National Agricultural School in Bulacan.

“Tingin ko malakas ang team natin, mga bata nga pero lahat may experience na sa World Series. Malaki ang tsansa natin na makalaro uli ng championship game,” added head coach Anna Santiago, the multi-titled coach of Adamson and head coach of the national team, who will be assisted by Sheirylou Valenzuela, Stan Terrones, and Fr. Rock Joseph Enriquez.

The Manila Softbelles will battle 2016 World Series Champion Central Hemet Xplosions and Redlands South California in a doubleheader tomorrow, July 25, and then face off with Moreno Valley and Blake in another doubleheader on Thursday, July 26, before its last seeding assignment against Mayhem on Friday going into the crucial crossover eliminations on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) for the semi-finals berths.