FOR winning this year’s NCAA Juniors crown, Mapua has been installed as heavy favorite to rule the 5th Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) MEC Network Cup set to open on Dec. 10 at the Chiang Kai Shek College gym.
Led by Finals MVP Bryan Samudio, Clint Escamis and Brian Lacap, the Red Robins ended San Beda’s seven-year reign with an 84-67 win in their sudden-death match last month at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. It was Mapua’s first title in 16 years - and the first under Mapua’s new high school campus Malayan High School of Science.
New PSSBC chairman Leoncio Chua believes Mapua can sustain the momentum it gained in winning the NCAA title, saying the Red Robins showed great character during their title series with the Red Cubs.
“The character they showed during the finals was unbelievable and I like to congratulate coach Randy (Alcantara) for that,” said Chua. “And that’s also the reason why Mapua is the title favorite.”
Winning the PSSBC crown, according to Chua, would only affirm Mapua’s renaissance.
“It’s going to be a great year for Mapua if it will also win the Battle of Champions,” added Chua.
Aside from Mapua, Chua said defending champion Chiang Kai Shek College and National University are the other teams capable of raising the championship trophy in the tournament backed by Rain or Shine, Hapee Toothpaste, Blackwater, Dickies, Freego, Ironcon Builders, and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum.
La Salle Greenhils and Arellano are the NCAA teams likely to compete in the event, while Ateneo, Far Eastern University and La Salle-Zobel could also join to represent the UAAP in the annual event.
CKSC and inaugural champion Hope Christian High School banner the title campaign of Filipino-Chinese Atheltic Association (FCAAP) along with Manila Patriotic School.