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Cebuana Lhuillier completely dominated the opposition in the recent 22nd South East Asia International Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament in Indonesia, sweeping all its games. The sweep was punctuated by an impressive 16-3 victory over erstwhile undefeated and defending champion Chinese-Taipei in the championship game.

Held at the Senayan Sports Complex in Jakarta, the three-day tournament attracted 14 club teams from all over Asia. Practically all the competing teams utilized American imports with the exception of Cebuana Lhuillier and Chinese Taipei, which ironically ended up meeting in the finals.

Cebuana Lhuillier tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom half of the second inning of the championship match with runs from Mark Rae Ramirez, who opened with a double, and playing head coach Davy Lan Perez. It then exploded with 8 unanswered runs in the third inning with veteran Vhio Roxas, who emerged tournament MVP, leading the onslaught together with Apol Rosales, Manuel and Lando Binarao, Andoy Velasquez and Ramirez, to pull away 10-2 going into the 4th inning.

From thereon, Cebuana Lhuillier scored runs in all the remaining innings while its tight defense held the dreaded offense of Chinese Taipei to only one run in the final inning with Cebuana leading 16-2 and already beyond reach by the Chinese team.

"It was our team defense, coupled with timely substitutions and hitting with people on the bases that sealed our victory. But even with that score, it was a hard-earned victory for us. We knew we had to play a perfect game to beat the top-seeded Chinese team which earlier had also beaten all their opponents with blow-out scores," related Perez. With this latest triumph, Cebuana Lhuillier is now Grand Slam champion of slo-pitch softball in Asia.

On his part, team owner and sportsman-businessman Jean Henri Lhuillier said his team's victory, its 4th straight international championship following its back to back PANGAEA Cup and the Bangkok International Slo-Pitch League (BISL) titles in just over a year's time, bodes well for the sport of slo-pitch softball in the Philippines.

"I am definitely proud of our team's performance here in Jakarta. It was total team effort with both our defense and offense working well in that championship game," said Lhuillier who is also backing the first-ever inter-collegiate slo-pitch tournament in Manila as part of his program as ASAPHIL commissioner for slo-pitch.

On the way to the finals, Cebuana Lhuillier, which is enjoying a 26-0 win-loss slate in its international stints, beat Worldwide 18-8, Jakarta Oilers 12-7, Just-1-More 10-5, Blok Mad 9-7, Saigon Spirit by rout 39-0 and Caltex Rumbai 16-3. In its semi-final game against Thailand's Tilac Fattboyz, Cebuana Lhuillier won 10-3 to set up its winner takes all match against Chinese Taipei which eliminated the Oilers in other semi-finals game.

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Copyright © 2005 PJ LHUILLIER, INC. All rights reserved.