In what has been a frustrating start to the month for Philippine sports, the national cricket team provided some welcome news.
The Philippines gained a seat in the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 Cricket World Cup qualifiers after cruising past Indonesia, 138-110, in the East Asia Pacific ‘B’ Qualifier last Friday at the Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Friendship Oval in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Showing class and composure throughout this week-long, four-nation tournament, the national team finished two games ahead of Japan and South Korea.
“There is something special about this side,” said team captain Jonathan Hill. “We are a tight-knit group who are immensely proud to play for and represent the Philippines. They never lose focus and when the going gets tough, they get going. It’s an honor to captain them, and to make history today.
The historic win means that the Philippines will move a step closer to the T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia in 2020.
Incidentally, this was also the first time that the Philippines ever hosted a major cricket event.
Next up for the team will be the ICC East Asia Pacific final in Papua Guinea next year. They’ll be takin on the hosts and Vanuatu, and the winner of that event will go through to the global qualifying round.
The top six teams, meanwhile, will qualify for the T20 World Cup.
There’s still a long way to go, but the head coach Mark Pekin was nonetheless thrilled with the show of support by fans who followed the squad throughout this tourney.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support,” said Pekin. “In many close games, their support was the difference between us winning and losing. It was like having an extra player on the field. I’m so pleased that we were able to win the Cup for them. It’s a proud day for the Philippines.”
The Philippines also dedicated their win to the former Philippine Cricket Association general manager Iain Sinclair, who passed away in August.