A pack of 12 public and private schools are entered in the elementary division and seven for the secondary class will dispute for two division titles in the event organized by Datu Uchida Development Foundation (DUDF) and sponsored by Tokyo Kichijoji Lions Club of Tokyo.
Lt. C. Villafuerte Sr. and Crossing Bayabas National High School are all primed up to defend their elementary and secondary titles, respectively.
“The champions in last year’s baseball cup will be defending their title this year,” said Joaquin Sarabia, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association (Paba) Davao Region chief.
Expected to provide formidable challenge for Villafuerte and Crossing Bayabas are the elementary and secondary batters of Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School.
The PNJK players are training hard under the tutelage of the DUDF sports coordinator Yusuke Uchida, who trained baseball in the US, with the help of baseball coach Hidotoshi Suzuki.
"It's difficult to win a championship but we will try our best. I'm sure the players will play hard. It’s hard since other teams are also getting stronger and better," said Uchida.
Baseball equipments and trophies courtesy of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and cash prizes are up for grabs in the tournament that allotted P8,000 for the champion in both divisions.
The next two placers will get P4,000 and P2,000.
The organizers will also provide each team a transportation subsidy of P2,000, lunch for the entire duration of the meet, baseball equipment and shirts, according to Ynes Mallari, Davao-based PNJK school administrator.
DUDF vowed to continue support baseball development efforts in Davao City.
Datu Tatsuo Uchida, DUDF president, said, “We are glad that we are able to fulfill the dream of the Dabawenyo in promoting sports development in this city.”
“We hope that more cooperation and support be given by the government and other stakeholders to make endeavors like this a great success," he added.
DUDF, with the help of its sponsors from Japan, also bankrolled the past three Davao City Baseball Cup that has drawn some 50 little league baseball teams across this city. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)