CAPAS, Tarlac -- The RP Blu Girls won their 10th straight Southeast Asian Games softball championship, but saw two of its key players run the diamond for the last time Sunday.
Team captain and catcher Franchesca Altomonte and shortstop Garie Blando have decided to hang up their gloves after winning the gold against Indonesia, 8-0.
Altomonte and Blando had been the pillars of a very successful program since 2014, where they saw three SEA Games gold medals, and trips to the World and Asian Championships, and the Asian Games.
The two players believe that this phase of their lives is over, and it's time to move on to pass the torch to the young ones as the Blu Girls remain to be of the world's best.
"I think I already gave everything I could for the team. From leading it, managing it," said the 25-year-old Altomonte.
"This will be a good time for the younger pool to come in and train for the next tournaments because it's going to be a longer turn training," the skipper referring to the tournaments ahead.
Ever since Altomonte had graduated from Ateneo in 2013, she had dedicated the past six years of her life, even leaving a lucrative job just to devote her time for the squad.
"You also have to put your life also on hold to commit to this team. To think I've put so many years, full out commitment with this team," shared Altomonte.
"It really is a daily sacrifice. Towards the end, I have been helping out with managing. It's been a bit rough, but honestly, I believe what this team can do so I didn't mind at all."
Just like Altomonte, Blando had called it a day to focus on pursuing medicine at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Florida.
The shortstop had already started her three-year doctorate degree, and even took the time off to accommodate her swan song for the country.
She wasn't actually planning to play, but Dizer and the squad, but the prospect of a perfect ending was too irresistible.
"I wanted to end my career on a good note representing the Philippines, knowing 100% sure we're going to get the gold. So, I wanted to end my career on a good note," she said.
As one of the pioneers of the Fil-Am recruitment to keep up with the evolving international game, Blando had served her team well with her offense and defense.
She also thanks the Philippines for letting her represent it for five years.
Dizer admits he isn't still ready to let his players go, since they haven't reached their athletic prime just yet, citing the case of the US softball team, who have players in their late 20s and early 30s.
He also says he will convince them to stay for continuity heading to the Asian Championships in 2020 and the World Championships plus the SEA Games in 2021.