FAR Eastern University, Mapua, and San Beda will be up against tough opposition when the SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National High School Championship presented by Freego kicks off on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Baby Tamaraws, Red Robins, and the Red Cubs made it to the high school tournament but are not expected to breeze through the tournament with five other teams looking to make a mark.
Cebu powerhouse Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu is also in the tournament with the Magis Eagles looking to return to the top after beating the Red Cubs in the 2015 championship game.
Four international teams that have Fil-foreigners in their roster in AusPinoy One Solutions, Filam Sports USA, Camp David New Zealand, and Crossover Sports Canada.
The Red Cubs returned to the prestigious high school tournament in hopes of winning the Division 1 crown again after winning the Metro Manila Basketball League (MMBL), a qualifier for the NBTC tournament.
The Red Robins made it to the national championship after finishing runner-up to San Beda in the MMBL. Mapua was the same team that snapped the Red Lions reign as NCAA champion at seven in Season 92.
UAAP champion FEU was given an outright passage to the NBTC national tournament for winning its mother league that coincided with the MMBL. The Baby Tamaraws, who will play in the NBTC for the first time, swept National University of the UAAP Season 79 title.
“Since for the past two years, nasa finals kami, I’m just keep telling my players to do better. It will be a totally different experience for us,” said San Beda coach JB Sison.
San Beda is bracketed in Group A with Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, AusPinoy One Solutions, and Filam Sports USA, while Mapua and FEU are in Group B with Camp David New Zealand and Crossover Sports Canada.
The Red Cubs open their campaign against SHS-AdC on Monday, while the battle of NCAA and UAAP champions between Mapua and FEU will be held on Tuesday.
The top two teams in each group will play in a crossover semifinals on Wednesday, with the winners playing in a one-game championship game on Thursday.