THE incredible journey to the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in Australia is over for former Bay and Basin player Jonathan Hill.
After Hill and his Philippines national team had already won the East-Asia-Pacific (EAP) pool, they were pitted against against Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu in Port Moresby.
"This tournament was the first time the team had been together since winning in Manila," Hill said.
"The lead up went well - the Manila based players undertook regular training at the facilities in Cavite while those of us based in and around Sydney got together for regular net sessions over the summer."
Despite all the lead up going well for Hill's side, once they arrived in Port Moresby, they were thrown a googly by the weather.
"A week before the first ball was to be bowled in Port Moresby, the ground, Amini Park, was literally underwater," Hill said.
"There were moments early in the week where we honestly thought we were not going to get on at all.
"However the groundsman, Dean Reeves, did an amazing job with his team to get the ground back in shape.
"We were resigned to the fact that we'd be playing on the synthetic wicket but in the end all the matches took place on turf."
Skipper Hill and his side's first game came against PNG on March 21, which they lost 4/216 to 8.83 before backing it up against Vanuatu the next day.
Unfortunately, the Philippines lost their first game against Vanuatu 6/156 to 7/93, before again falling to PNG (2/205 to 2/11) in their third match - leaving them with a final match against Vanuatu to keep their T20 dream alive.
"The match against Vanuatu was important because we knew that if we won we had a chance at coming second in the tournament," Hill said.
"Alternatively, if Vanuatu were to win against us and then defeat PNG then they may have had a chance at winning the whole thing and progressing through."
"On that final morning the weather wreaked havoc again and the umpires were not too keen to let us play however both team were determined to take the field, so it was agreed that a five-over match would take place.
"We lost the toss and were sent in to bat and we compiled at very competitive 46.
"Dan Smith and Richie Goodwin, two Sydney based Filipinos, put on an excellent partnership that kept the scoreboard ticking over.
"We knew 46 would be tricky to get as the wicket was definitely holding up a bit and the outfield was very slow.
"Once again Dan Smith performed well with the ball and was excellently supported by Ruchir our leg spinner - in the end Vanuatu fell 10 runs short (3/46 to 2/36).
"This win was significant for us because it was the first time the Philippines had ever beaten Vanuatu in any form of cricket - the team was ecstatic."
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Vanuatu ended up losing to PNG in the final match, meaning Hill's side came second overall.
"PNG are an incredible team and the highlight of the week was without doubt watching them play," he said.
"They remind me of the great West Indies team from the 1980s.
"The play with so much enthusiasm and joy that you can't help but smile when you see them take these spectacular catches or sixes that clear the perimeter of the stadium.
"On and off the field they were absolute gentlemen - they truly embodied the spirit of the game.
"I am very confident that they will progress through to the final round and compete in the World Cup in Sydney next year."
Hill, who finished with 15 runs and three wickets for the tournament, and his team will now restart their qualification process for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
"Having been knocked out of the World Cup T20 qualifiers, the process will now start again next year," he said.
"The venue is yet to be announced but we will have to compete against Japan, Indonesia and South Korea to see who goes through to the next round.
"The team is determined to improve and from speaking with all the players, they are keen to reflect on the past two tournaments and put in place some strategies in place to continue our progress moving forward."