A young member of the famed Gandu-yan Bucks of Sagada, Mountain Province saw action as part of the Philippine Team that won a decent fifth place in the Under 15 Asian Baseball Championship in Weihai, China on Aug. 20 to 26.
Just two years after he started playing baseball, Leshem Doyayag Dawilan, 13, brought pride and honor for the Cordillera and to his school, Saint Mary’s School of Sagada, Inc. (SMSSI), being the lone Igorot member of the national squad that competed against some of the best teams in the world.
Dawilan, who also comes from a family of baseball players and enthusiasts, shared that his athleticism was noticed by one Marceil Plaza when the Ganduyan Bucks competed in Cavite and in Ilagan, Isabela. Plaza approached Dawilan and asked if he wanted to play in international games abroad.
Dawilan accepted the offer and there was no turning back.
The incoming grade 9 student of SMSSI was in high spirits despite being the lone player from the highlands with the rest of the team members from Metro Manila.
Dawilan shared the Philippine Team faced some of the best baseball teams in the world inclu-ding South Korea and baseball powerhouse Chinese Taipei, with the latter winning the championship trophy.
Japan placed second after a heart-stopping game in the finals against Chinese Taipei while China placed fourth.
“We played against Chinese Taipei and even though we lost, we still were able to score a point,” said Dawilan, who joined the Ganduyan Bucks in 2022.
Dawilan shared his most memorable experience was when he reached second base in a single run during their game against Sri Lanka.
“I was able to get a double after getting a good hit,” he said.
Before facing the powerhouse team, the national squad edged out Pakistan, 15-1, to send a strong message against other teams that competed in the event organized by the Baseball Federation of Asia.
Back home, members of the Ganduyan Bucks are proud of the accomplishment of one of its members and for sharing in the future his learning experience.
A well-respected team in the field of baseball, the Ganduyan Bucks that was established in 1996, has won in se-veral regional and national league series in a span of decades. – Vhurn Sumeg-ang