THE path to the national championship is set as all 32 teams have been placed in their respective slots for the 2019 Chooks-to-Go SM NBTC League National Finals.
Champions and runner-ups from the UAAP, NCAA, NBTC Cebu, and MMBL occupied the top eight seeds in the national high school championship sponsored by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, and Molten.
UAAP champion Nazareth School of National University is at No. 1, NCAA titlist Mapua University at No. 2, NBTC Cebu king Southwestern University-PHINMA is seeded No. 3, and MMBL ruler San Beda University is at No. 4.
Bridesmaids Ateneo, La Salle Greenhills, University of San Jose - Recoletos, and Letran occupy seeds 5 to 8, in that order, for the week-long festivities also presented by 5 Plus and Lighthouse Events.
Also seeded in Round One are top-ranked regional champions Calayan Educational Foundation Inc. (No. 17), St. Augustine Institute of Pampanga (No. 18), Southern Philippines College - CDO (No. 19), St. Mary's College of Tagum Davao del Norte (No. 20), University of Perpetual Help JONELTA (No. 21), St. Louis of Don Bosco Dumaguete (No. 22), STI - West Negros University Bacolod (No. 23), and Sto. Domingo National HS Legazpi (No. 24).
That leaves the international teams, wildcards, and other regional champions fighting for positioning, with NBTC program director Eric Altamirano conducting the lottery for spots in the Seeding Round.
Seeding round matchups are as follows: Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy and Hope Christian HS (9 vs 16); FEU-Diliman and Durham Crossover Canada (10 vs 15); Top Flight Hoops Vancouver and Camp David New Zealand (11 vs 14); and Filam Sports USA vs Auspinoy Australia (12 and 13).
Also set to collide in the seeding round are Narvacan National HS and Isabela Colleges Cauayan (25 vs 32); Sta. Clarita International School Iloilo and Zamboanga del Sur National HS (26 vs 31); University of Baguio and Dolores National HS Eastern Samar (27 vs 30); and Holy Trinity College General Santos and LPU-Cavite (28 vs 29).
Seeding round winners will claim the higher-seed heading to Round 1, with the loser occupying the lower rank when the 16 teams raise the curtain on Monday.
The finals will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena from March 18 to 24.
The tournament semis and finals, alongside the annual All-Star Game, will be aired live on 5 Plus. All games, from the seeding round to the championship round, will also be streamed live over at tv5.espn.com
Last year, National U was crowned king of Division 1 while La Salle Lipa ruled Division 2.
SEEDED TEAMS:  Nazareth School of National University;  Mapua University;  Southwestern University-PHINMA;  San Beda University;  Ateneo de Manila University;  La Salle Greenhills;  University of San Jose - Recoletos;  Colegio de San Juan de Letran;  Calayan Educational Foundation Inc.;  St. Augustine Pampanga;  Southern Philippines College - CDO;  St. Mary's College of Tagum Davao del Norte;  University of Perpetual Help - Jonelta;  St. Louis of Don Bosco Dumaguete;  STI - West Negros University Bacolod;  Sto. Domingo National HS Legazpi.
SEEDING ROUND MATCHUPS: Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy vs Hope Christian HS (9 vs 16); FEU-Diliman vs Durham Crossover Canada (10 vs 15); Top Flight Hoops Vancouver vs Camp David New Zealand (11 vs 14); Filam Sports USA vs Auspinoy Australia (12 vs 13); Narvacan National HS vs Isabela Colleges Cauayan (25 vs 32); Sta. Clarita International School Iloilo vs Zamboanga del Sur National HS (26 vs 31); University of Baguio vs Dolores National HS Eastern Samar (27 vs 30); Holy Trinity College General Santos vs LPU-Cavite (28 vs 29).