DEFENDING champion Chiang Kai Shek College leads the quest for the right to be called No. 1 juniors team in the land when 18 finalists vie in the 2015 Seaoil-NBTC National High School Championships on Friday in three different venues.
The CKSC Blue Dragons debut against University of Cordilleras (Baguio) at 9:45 a.m. at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, before taking on St. John’s Institute (Bacolod) at 2:15 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Highlighting the grueling opening day schedule is the clash between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and Assumption College (Davao) at 12:30 p.m. following the 11:30 a.m. opening ceremony at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios will deliver the opening remarks, while Ateneo Blue Eagle star Keifer Ravena will give the inspirational message.
Following the parade of teams, NBTC Mindanao territorial head Arvin Martinez leads the invocation and the Arellano University Drum and Lyre will play the national anthem.
Ateneo’s Von Pessumal leads the oath of sportsmanship in between the opening remarks and the inspirational message, and a plaque of appreciation is to given to Tao Corporation president Joel Lopa.
Joining Barrios in the ceremonial toss are National Basketball Training Center program director Eric Altamirano and tournament directors Edmundo Badolato and Manny Nitorreda.
Divided into six groups with teams from each pool playing one round robin, the top six of the tournament backed by the MVP Sports Foundation and which serves as the official grassroots development program of the SBP, advance to the next round, with the qualifiers from Groups A, D and E in one pool and those from Groups B, C, and F in another for a single-round play.
The top teams from either pool then meet in the championship
Bracketed in Group A are San Beda-B, Laguna and Zamboanga; Group B has NU, Tarlac and Iloilo; Group C has San Beda-A, Lucena and Zambales;
Group D has Chiang Kai Shek College, Baguio and Bacolod; Group E has Cebu, Davao and Naga; and Group F has Cavite, Pampanga and Cagayan de Oro.
Also seeing action are Southern City College from Zamboanga, St. Roberts International School from Iloilo, Sacred Heart of Jesus Montessori from Cagayan de Oro are Maryhill College from Lucena, University of Perpetual Help System from Binan, Naga City Montessori, Lyceum from South Cavite, and Castillejos National High School from Zambales.
Completing the cast are Infant Jesus Learning Center for Academic Studies from San Fernando, Pampanga, Gerona Institute from Tarlac, and National Capital Region qualifiers San Beda Red Cubs (NCAA), San Beda-B, and National University (UAAP).
The six semifinal matches will be played at the YSA today starting at 8 a.m. while three FIBA-endorsed 3-on-3 matches are set at the Meralco gym from 8 in the morning.