THE Lieutenant Colonel Villafuerte Sr. Central Elementary School (LTVSCES) Sluggers open defense of their crown when the 5th Davao City Baseball Cup gets underway starting at 8 a.m. Friday at the University of Mindanao (UM) Matina diamond.

The LTVSCES Sluggers, the perennial winners from Calinan, are entered in the elementary division of the two-day meet organized by the Datu Uchida Development Foundation Incorporated (DUDFI) in coordination with the Davao City Baseball Association.

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The Sluggers, however, will have their hands full as consistent top three placer Philippine Nikkei Jin Kai International School (PNJKIS) is all out to dethrone them.

The Bangkal-based A. Mabini School Strikers, the A.Loyola School Tigers of Crossing Bayabas, the Baguio Central School Predators of Baguio District, Bayabas Elementary School of Toril, the Calinan Central School Achievers of Calinan, Catalunan Grande Elementary School Wildcats, the F.Bangoy Central Knights of Sasa, Mulig Elementary School Slashers of Mulig, Toril , Quirino Elementary School, San Juan Elementary School, Talomo Central Elementary School Little Boys and the Wangan Elementary School Cubs will also try to get a shot at the champion's trophy, P8,000 cash prize and baseball equipment.

In the secondary division, heavy favorite Crossing Bayabas National High School (CBNHS) of Toril will compete against Baguio High School of Agriculture Eagles of Tawantawan, Baguio National School of Arts and Trade, Calinan National High School Angels, F.Bustamante National High School Sailors, Holy Cross College of Calinan and the PNJKIS.

The next two placers in each category will also receive cash prizes, trophies and baseball equipment in the knockout format competition.

A fellowship dinner for all participants is set after today's games that will be witnessed by DUDFI president Datu Tatsuo Uchida and sports director Yusuke Uchida and other supporters.

"We are very excited to see more improved teams this year," Yusuke said.