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 Philippine Softball: From Grassroots to Global under Jean Henri Lhuillier

In the international sports arena, only a few Philippine teams can rival the achievements and successes garnered by Philippine National Softball teams. For more than 20 years, the many different members of multi-time SEA games gold medalists RP Blu Boys and RP Blu Girls accomplished their dreams by honorably and triumphantly representing the country in a lot of prestigious international softball competitions.

Softball is not a commonly played sport in the Philippines, thus, it is quite extraordinary that Filipino softball teams have proven to be highly competitive and even victorious in international tournaments throughout many years.

Worthy of note is the outstanding showing of the RP Blu Boys and RP Blu Girls in international competitions has catapulted the Philippines to the number 14 ranking of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in both the men’s and women’s division. Last year, no less than four national teams have qualified for the World Cup, namely the RP Blu Girls, RP Blu Boys, U15 Women’s and the Philippine Co-Ed Slow Pitch Team.

Much of the credit for the success of Philippine Softball belongs to the Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines (ASAPHIL) and its long-time head, Jean Henri Lhuillier, President and CEO of microfinance giant Cebuana Lhuillier.

ASAPHIL is the governing body for the sport of softball in the Philippines. A private organization recognized as the National Sport Association (NSA) for softball,  ASAPHIL is a regular member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and accredited by both the International Softball Federation and the Asian Softball Association.

Under the long-term leadership of President Jean Henri Lhuillier, ASAPHIL not only focuses on the care, training, and improvement of elite softball athletes like the RP Blu Boys and RP Blu Girls but also spearheads nationwide grassroots development of softball in order to discover new talents. RP Blu Girls Secretary General Francesca Alcantara, who used to play for the RP Blu Girls witnessed for herself the tireless passion of Jean Henri: “With the support of Jean Henri Lhuillier back then- and especially now,  Filipino softball players were given the chance to enhance their capabilities further through proper training and financial backing. It is his unwavering belief in the sport and the Filipino athlete that got us here”.

Jean Henri Lhuillier is elated with the progress of ASAPHIL’s current program that aims to bring back national softball competitions as a means to continuously hone local talents in preparation for the world stage:  “I am very upbeat for the future of our national softball teams, there are lots of international  tournaments lined up for them and I’m confident this will put the Philippines on the softball map. Furthermore, we are beefing up our softball program by scouting for Filipino softball players not just in the provinces but abroad.” Jean Henri Lhuillier expressed his steadfast commitment to Philippine Softball when he stated, “ I have high hopes for softball as it is a sport where I firmly believe that Filipinos have what it takes to be the world’s best, and I vow to continue giving them my all out support to make this a reality”



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