Team Singapore Softball men's team came in 4th out of 6 teams in the 14th Asian Men's Championship Qualifier 2015 (Photo by William Tanoto)
It was a case of so close yet so far for Team Singapore men’s softball team.
Playing for a ticket to next year’s World Softball Championship in which only the top three teams at the 14th Asian Men’s Championship Qualifier are given, the team narrowly missed out on the final spot after a 5-2 loss to regional powerhouse Philippines in the third/fourth placing game.
Philippines went on to triumph over Indonesia 4-3 in the Final, before losing to eventual champion Japan 5-0 in the Grand Final.
Team Singapore softballer Chew Jee Boon batting in the Singapore vs Brunei match (Photo by William Tanoto)
Team Singapore head coach, John Tan was encouraged by his team’s performance, where they grabbed two wins in the tournament and gave Philippines a run for their money. However, he was realistic about his side’s level of play and insisted that the squad had much to work on with the 2015 South East Asian (SEA) Games fast approaching in six months.
“Back to basic, we know where our problem lies from day one and this tournament shows our weaknesses. There are plans made on how to improve in the different areas,” Tan asserted.
“The score (against Philippines) is respectable, but at the end of the day, our problem lies in offensive strike. We were able to get some runs but we left it too late.”
Captain Ivan Ng (back facing) and team huddling in for a mid-game pep talk (Photo by William Tanoto)
Team captain Ivan Ng agreed with his coach’s assessment as he added: “The fact that our team were beaten 5-2 is a pretty big scoreline. It shows that we are almost there yet with quite a lot of things to work on. These are the things that we will be looking forward to in the coming six months in order to build up and close the gap.”
While a loss is almost always demoralising, Ng believes that the defeat to Philippines will have the opposite effect instead.
“In the past, whenever we meet Philippines it was always a no-fight. This time round the team being young and gutsy went all out to challenge our opponents,” Ng shared.
“The Philippines team actually came up to us after the tournament and complimented us for putting up a really good fight.”
With aspirations of a World Softball Championship appearance for next year all but gone, Ng shared that the team will now focus on the preparation for SEA Games and look forward to playing in front of the home crowd.