Pinay batters eye historic run at Women's Baseball World Cup in March

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 12) — The Philippine women's baseball team is looking to make history when they compete at the Women's Baseball World Cup for the first time this March.

Apart from making their debut, the national team is eyeing to improve on its No. 15 world ranking and break into the top 10 in the 12-nation sporting slated on March 1-9 in Tijuana, Mexico.

"Our goal is to really enter the top 10 of the world because we believe that is our place and this is what these girls are working hard to do," said Boy Ticzon, vice president of the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.

"This is the best time that we can move up the standings in the world, that's why we really have to commit and train really hard," he added.

Preparations and progress in local baseball, however, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the Pinay batters were forced to train individually at home, a huge setback that derailed the team sport.

But amid government restrictions, PABA officials continued to seek clearance from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to allow the women's baseball team to set up a training bubble before they leave for the competition which was originally slated last November.

"We are studying different protocols which we will present to the PSC to allow us to be able to train amidst this pandemic. We have already given the PSC a letter to allow us to train because the ones that are only allowed to train are Olympic athletes," explained Ticzon.

"If we are allowed to train, we are ready to set up the bubble," he added.

According to Ticzon, PABA is eyeing two venues for its training bubble, including the University of the Philippines-Los Banos campus, and Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna where Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls are also set to commence training.

Commitment, likewise, won't be an issue for the promising squad composed of former softball players, as they remain in high spirits since clinching an impressive bronze-medal finish at the 2019 Women's Baseball Asia Cup where they beat Hong Kong, South Korea and China.

"They are all committed to continue this progression in our practices. I was telling them the training will not be easy, we will condense all the skills that they should learn and make them habits right away in a short period, or a month's time," Ticzon said.

While tempering expectations, PABA Secretary General Pepe Munoz says he is optimistic the women's team will fare well on their sport's biggest stage.

"Our girls have only been playing baseball for two years," he explained. "Both Japan and Chinese Taipei are so far ahead of us and those are the top 2 in the world today, but below that anything is possible."

"Our team still lacks experience but once they get into this and they perform well, I'd like to see our women's team become a contender eventually," he added.