STORRS, Conn. – One step closer to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games is UConn softball freshman Reese Guevarra, following her recent trip to Taiwan to play in the Asian Championships with the Philippines National Team.
In her first season playing with the team, Guevarra helped the Philippines earn a silver medal after wins over China and Chinese Taipei – two of the world’s top-10 ranked teams – and a qualification to next year’s World Championships in Japan.
The Philippines lost to No. 1 Japan in the final of the Asian Championships, but reached unparalleled heights for the program – resulting in a chance to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
“I had a blast with the team. The competition was amazing and I am blessed to be able to compete on an international level,” said Guevarra. “Our team has great chemistry. We all get along so well.”
The trip began with practice sessions in the Philippines, before the team traveled to Taiwan for the tournament. Plane rides of 15+ hours wreaked havoc on Guevarra in terms of jet lag, but her overall experience provided inspiration.
“It was very humbling,” said Guevarra, who visited the Philippines for just the second time in her life. “Some locals are from poor provinces where they have only one bat and play in their slippers. I’ve gotten everything I need in the U.S.; they inspire me to improve.”
Next summer, the Philippines will participate in the World Cup in Irvine, Calif. – as well as take their opportunities at an Olympic appearance by playing in the World Championships (Japan) and Asian Games (Indonesia).
Since Guevarra joined the team, the Philippines has earned victories over four top-10 teams in the world (Canada, Australia, China, Chinese Taipei) and won its first-ever medal in the Asian Championships.
Guevarra learned a touch of Mandarin as she took in the culture of Taiwan, referring to it as a “beautiful place” and checking off another destination on her list. Her participation with the Philippines has been mutually beneficial.
“I’m really proud of what we have accomplished. We haven’t been playing at this level for a long time,” said Guevarra. “I’m thankful for the chance and love playing on this team.”
The World Championships will take place from August 2-12 and the Asian Games from August 18 to September 2. UConn’s season begins in less than two months, as the Huskies open on Feb. 9 in the Jacksonville Softball Tournament.