National University starts its bid for back-to-back championships when it battles University of the Philippines in the 9th PCABL (Philippine Chinese Amateur Basketball League) FREEGO Cup on Saturday at the at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy gym in Quezon City.
Coming off an inspiring title win in the UAAP last month, the Bullpups are slightly favored over the Junior Maroons when they tangle at 1 p.m.
Clashing in the opening at 9 a.m. are Far Eastern University and Letran while multi-titled Chiang Kai Shek College and Hope Christian High School tangle at 10:45 p.m.
Adamson, which is out to win its first title in the tournament also sponsored by Smart, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Hapee Toothpaste, Insular Square (Cebu), and New Pioneer Auto Supply (Cebu), tests the mettle of Arellano University at 2:45 p.m.
NU won the title last year by edging La Salle-Zobel, 58-52, but the latter won’t be around this time to allow its players to rest after also losing to the Bullpups in last month’s UAAP finals.
“Taking the place of La Salle Zobel is La Salle Greenhills which is out to gain exposure as it intends to contend for the title in the coming NCAA season,” said tournament director Horacio Lim.
Aside from Letran, Hope Christian and Adamson, also bracketed with NU in Group B are San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Lyceum, and Mapua.
Comprising Group A are La Salle-Greenhills, CKSC, FEU, UP, Arellano, University of Perpetual Help, and St. Jude Catholic School.
Freego’s Eduard Tio and Edster Sy are expected to grace the opening day hostilities.