DESPITE one division less, this year’s Little League Baseball Philippine Series edition remains bigger and better.
Around 60 teams in four divisions are estimated to participate in the April 4 to 12 meet to be held in Dumaguete City for the first time, according to LLBP District Administrator Jolly Gomez.
To be disputed in the tournament are the 12-and-under, 13-and-under, 14-and-under, and 16-and-under divisions. Left out this year is the 17-and-above class, where the country previously won in the World Series.
“Although doon tayo malakas (17-and-above), the thrust of the Little League now is the 16-and-under,” said Gomez in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the Golden Phoenix Hotel. “We’ve really grown through the years and one of the targets is the youth program of the league.”
Atty. Christine Cuisia-Remollo, representing husband, Dumaguete City Mayor Ping Remollo, and assistant country director Chito Gonzales joined Gomez in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Golden Phoenix Hotel, Accel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Only three divisions will be played in Dumaguete as the 13-and-under division is going to be disputed in the Palarong Pambansa set in Antique.
Winner of the 12-13-under division will be competing in the Asia-Pacific meet set in Korea, the 14-15 under division champion earns berth in the regional meet in Saipan, while the 15-and-under will be going to Singapore.
Champions in the Asia-Pacific regions are bound to play in the World Series in the U.S.
Remollo, meanwhile, said a budget of P5 million has been allotted by the city of Dumaguete in conjunction with the private sector for the hosting of the week-long meet.
“In terms of financial support, we have private sectors coming in because it’s easy to have the Little League franchise,” said Remollo, who comes from a baseball family, adding one of his sons became part of the Philippine team that represented the country in the Asia-Pacifici regional meet in the past.
Known as a sports hub in the South, Remollo added the Philippine series is also about promoting the tourism aspect of the province.