Yusuke is continuously gathering slightly used as well as brand new quality baseball equipment in Japan that will be distributed to the public schools across this city.
The foundation also bankrolled several tournaments that have been lacking in the past.
Joaquin Sarabia, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (PABA) regional director, cited the holding of only a few tournaments as among the reasons why the sport is facing difficulties.
“We have little league tournaments before but there were only few teams joining, 5 or 6, because the schools, most especially public schools has no equipment to be used for their training,” he lamented.
“How could they join?” asked Sarabia, who is also the chief mentor of the multi-titled University of Mindanao baseball team.
Ynes Mallari, Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School administrator, said that a survey found out that most of the sports shops here are not selling quality baseball equipment.
“After learning that, Yusuke started to gather baseball equipment in Japan and gave it to the public schools,” she said.
In previous interviews, Yusuke said he was able to gather around 300 pieces gloves, 200 bats, body protectors, knee guards, helmets, shoes, caps, uniforms, t-shirts and more than a thousand balls for the Davao baseball teams.
Mallari also disclosed that public schools, most especially those in the far flung areas, could not join the tournaments because of the transportation expenses.
“They cannot join because they have problems on transportation going to the venue and back,” she explained.
DUDF has responded to this problem by providing a transportation subsidy of P2, 000 for each team since the first staging of the tournament.
Apart from the transportation subsidy, it will also give free lunch for the whole duration of a tournament.
DUDF with the help of its sponsors from Japan will offer cash prizes which are bigger than what were usually given, new baseball equipment and the holding of victory parties and awarding rites in luxury hotels.
Yusuke said it was his grandfather, 2002 Datu Bago awardee and DUDF president Tatsuo Uchida, who encouraged him to help baseball in Davao City.
“My grandfather encouraged me to help baseball in Davao City. He always said that I should share my knowledge in the sport by training the kids here in Davao,” said Yusuke, who trained in the US and joined professional baseball league.
Tatsuo Uchida is reportedly the first foreigner to receive the Datu Bago Award because of his great contributions to the development of Davao and his great love for the city and its people.
DUDF is not mainly for sports development. It also sponsors the education of some underprivileged but intellectually gifted students.
It was noted that DUDF’s unconditional support instigated the creation of the Davao City Baseball Association (DCBA) which is currently seeking affiliation from the PABA, the governing body of the sport in the country.
Sarabia was elected first president of the DCBA with Yusuke as vice president.
Two years ago, DUDF and its sponsors spearheaded the staging of the 1st Davao City Baseball Cup, a tournament among elementary and high school teams. Only five teams joined.
But on its second year, the number of teams that joined increased to 23. Elementary and secondary public schools from as far as barangay Calinan, some 30 kilometers away from the venue, and barangay Tibungco, 18 kilometers away, saw action.
Yusuke is in this city for the 3rd edition of the tournament on February 23 – 24 at the UM Matina campus baseball field.
He arrived three days ago and immediately went to several public schools to distribute new baseball equipment.
Seventeen teams – 13 from elementary schools and 4 from high schools – are joining the tournament.
Awarding rites will be held at the Apo View Hotel’s Top of the Apo. Its previous awarding ceremonies were held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)