4 Fil-Am softbelles can’t join 17th Asian Games

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Philippine chef de mission Richie Garcia doubts whether the four Filipino-American players being eyed to reinforce the women’s softball team are eligible to compete in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.

The Blu Girls are hoping to tap University of Las Vegas Nevada sophomore infielder Garie Blando, San Diego State infielder Leiah Ruiz, UNLV pitcher Francesca Toti and infielder Jexenne Balilea, but under Asiad softball rules, a player should be a resident of the country that she represents for at least three years.

“The rule doesn’t allow them to play. It’s up to them if they will appeal to the organizers,” said Garcia, also chair of the Philippine Sports Commission. “I’m not even sure if these players have been here (in the Philippines).”

He said the residency requirement was crystal clear in the technical handbook for softball prepared by the Softball Confederation of Asia under the International Softball Federation and the Olympic Council of Asia.

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