The Philippines qualified for the Super Round in the final crucial Group A match by a single run in a tie-breaker against New Zealand in the WBSC Softball Asia/Oceania Qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Shanghai Chongming Sports Training Center.
The Philippines entered the WBSC Qualifier ranked 13th and New Zealand ranked 11th, both went into the game knowing whoever wins, will be placed second in their Group to China and qualify for the second round.
Both the Philippines and New Zealand had lost to China on identical 8-3 scores earlier in the tournament.
It was indeed a close-fought battle and the Philippines raised their game to match the Sox and had them in check and stayed in the game to force the game to tie-breaker. The game lasted one hour and forty-five minutes.
It was Chelsea Suitos single through the right side scoring Sierra Lange from third base, that gave the Philippines the one-run edge over New Zealand in the top of the eighth inning.
The Philippines stood their ground to deny New Zealand any runs.
Philippines coach Venerando Dizer was in tears after the game as he gathered his players around to say a prayer to thank for the victory.
“Yes we are lucky, but we worked hard to earn this victory and showed character to beat a higher-ranked team,” said Dizer with tears in his eyes.
The Philippines almost gave the game away when a costly error in the top of the sixth when Arianne Vallestero fumbled to catch in left-field hit by Sox’s Makea Merean which saw her reach second base.
“But we recovered each time we made an error. We have proved to people back home that we are a team to be reckoned with."
“We came here to make the Super Round and now that we made it, we are going for broke. We have nothing to lose."
“Yes we have to play Australia and Chinese Taipei and China are the favorites. But after this victory, we are in high spirits and want to continue to raise our game.”
New Zealand’s coach Stanley Doney was obviously disappointed but sportingly said that is why the game is so interesting.
“It was a very close game and we could have won the game. But it was not meant to be. Both teams had their opportunity to win the game and the Philippines did and we did not,” Doney.
“Credit to the Philippines because they played well. But we too did well but not enough to win it.”