Filipinas, PH Blu Girls lauded for respective World Cup feats – rezal404

Exactly two years back on Wednesday, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gifted the Philippines its first gold medal in the Olympics.

Fast forward to this day, two milestones were achieved—the national women’s teams’ stunning victories at the ongoing Fifa Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and the Women’s Softball World Cup in Italy.

“It’s God’s gift. We were the underdogs (on both occasions),’’ said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino after Filipinas, the PH women’s football squad, and the Blu Girls, the nation’s women’s softball team, humiliated the opposition in their rivals’ own territory.

Philippines New Zealand FIfa WOmen's World Cup

The Philippines celebrate their victory following the Women’s World Cup Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Philippines in Wellington, New Zealand, Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Alysa Rubin)

Tolentino was referring to that historic 1-0 triumph by the Filipinas against World Cup co-host New Zealand in Wellington on Tuesday and the 6-5 win of the Blu Girls over tournament host Italy halfway across the globe.

“Chance favors the prepared mind and in the Filipinas’ case, the prepared team,’’ said Tolentino.

Sarina Bolden scored a header in the 24th minute in front of a shocked packed crowd of 32,357 at the Sky Stadium, the first-ever goal of Team Philippines on football’s grandest stage that eventually led to a monumental win.

Barely eight hours later on the opposite side of the world, the Blu Girls leaned on the heroics of Nicole Hammoude and Angelu Gabriel in narrowly defeating Italy, 6-5, to advance to the playoffs of Group C in the 17th Women’s Softball World Cup held in Castions Di Strada.

With the bases loaded and the game on equal footing, Hammoude saw a break open up at the bottom of the seventh and raced home to score the walk-off triumph for the Filipino women clouters.

PH Blu Girls Women’s Softball World Cup

Philippine Blu Girls celebrate big win over Italy in the 17th Women’s Softball World Cup. –WBSC PHOTO

Gabriel hit Christina Tonioli’s pitch that ran smack into the middle of the pitching circle, prompting Hammoude to quickly spring toward the base.

According to Tolentino, the month of July, perhaps, has become a time of unparalleled achievement for Philippine sports.

“Two years ago on this day (July 26), Diaz won our first Olympic gold medal. And on Tuesday, July 25, and today, it was the Filipinas’ turn to make sports history as well as the Blu Girls,’’ said Tolentino.

“They (Filipinas) didn’t only qualify for the World Cup for the first time, they made an impact,’’ said the Tagaytay City mayor, adding the Blu Girls deserve the same level of admiration following the latter’s conquest in women’s softball’s global showpiece event.

The Paris Olympics opens exactly a year from now—July 26, 2024—and it will become the 100th year of Philippine participation in the Olympic movement after debuting in 1924 also at the glitzy French capital.

“God willing and with our athletes training harder and with more dedication and focus, we can do better in Paris,’’ said Tolentino.

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