Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes to grace 5th PSSBC MEC Network Cup opening
Chot Reyes will be present to inspire the young cagers of the 5th PSSBC MEC Network Cup. Jerome Ascano

RETURNINg Gilas 5.0 coach Chot Reyes will be the special guest when the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship (PSSBC) MEC Network Cup officially opens on Sunday at the Chiang Kai Shek College gym in Tondo, Manila.

The multi-titled PBA coach is expected to inspire and challenge this year’s participants in the tournament that gathers the elite teams from UAAP, NCAA and Fil-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation during the opening rites set at 11 a.m.

“I am certain that with presence of coach Chot Reyes, our young players will be motivated to do their best being the national team coach,” said PSSBC Board chairman Leoncio Chua. “I expect a wide-open race for the title.”

Matches, however, begin on Saturday at the SGS gym on Araneta Avenue, Quezon City with defending champion CKSC Blue Dragons taking on La Salle Greenhills.

NCAA titlist Mapua also opens its campaign as it goes up against St. Stephen’s HS at 2:15 p.m. and inaugural champion Hope Christian HS faces dangerous San Beda Club at 9 a.m.

Aside from reigning champ National University, other schools from the UAAP are Adamson, Far Eastern University and De La Salle Zobel while La Salle Greenhills and Arellano University will also represent NCAA in the event also sponsored by Dioceldo Sy’s Blackwater, Rudy Yu’s Dickies Underwear,Terry Que’s Poly Gloss Automotive Polyurethane System, Jimi Lim’s Ironcon Builders, Cecilio Pedro’s Hapee Toothpaste,  Eduard Tio’s Freego and Jimmy dela Cruz’s Ché Lu Bar & Grill.

Now on its fifth year, the league also got a big boost with the backing of Mighty Sports. Other backers are Choi Garden, Hanabishi, World Balance, Davies Paints, Frabelle Hotdogs, and Philippine Airlines.

The other team from FCAAF is Manila Patriotic School.

The champion team gets P50,000 cash while the second and third placers receive P30,000 and 20,000, respectively.

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Games on Saturday

(SGS gym, Q.C.)

9 a.m. – San Beda vs Hope Christian HS

10:45  a.m. – Arellano vs MPS

12:30 p.m. – LSGH vs CKSC

2:15 p.m. – Mapua vs St. Stephen’s

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