NATIONAL University and Ateneo are among the top favorites while a bunch of talented squads are out to make their mark in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go SM NBTC League National Finals starting next week.
The Bullpups are looking to become the first to back-to-back championships in the 12-year history of the NBTC.
The Bullpups, captained by Gerry Abadiano alongside Terrence Fortea and twin towers Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo head the 32-team tournament just three weeks removed from reclaiming the UAAP crown.
UAAP runner-up Ateneo, fronted by 7-foot-2 16-year-old Kai Sotto, will yet again be there to challenge them.
Also determined to make their mark are NCAA champion Mapua led by Finals MVP Paolo Hernandez and Dan Arches, and second-placer La Salle Green Hills spearheaded by versatile Joshua David and workhorse Inand Fornilos.
Metro Manila Basketball League titlist San Beda and runner-up Letran and wildcards Hope Christian and FEU-Diliman round out the NCR participants in the week-long event presented by TV5 Plus and Lighthouse Events and sponsored by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM and Molten
The NCR qualifiers battle 26 other teams in the NBTC nationals set from March 18 to 24 at the MOA Arena.
La Salle Lipa won Division 2 last year.