EXPECT a wide-open race as champion high school teams from the UAAP, NCAA and the Filipino Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation (FCAAF) slug it out in the 5th Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship MEC Networks Cup set to start on December 10 at the SGS Gym in Quezon City.
The week-long tournament will feature UAAP juniors champ National University, NCAA Season 92 winner Mapua, and FCAAF titleholder Chiang Kai Shek College, along with nine other elite high school teams.
De La Salle-Zobel, Far Eastern University and Adamson, taking over after Ateneo begged off from the tournament, join the Bullpups to represent the UAAP. Rounding out the other teams from NCAA are San Beda, Arellano and La Salle Greenhils. Hope Christian High School, Manila Patriotic School and St. Stephen High School--in place of the Cesafi titlist Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu team that also begged off--compose the other FCAAF representatives.
Despite the absence of a representative from Cebu, PSSBC management committee member Edster Sy believes there is parity among the competing schools especially with the entry of Adamson, which despite finishing fifth in last year’s UAAP tournament is now in first place in Season 79 with an undefeated record of 5-0, as of posting time.
“Nakakalungkot na gusto namin na may team outside Metro Manila, hindi nangyari. Naiintindihan namin ‘yung reason ng Cesafi champion pero still, isang bagay na gusto namin mangyari is a team outside Manila can join,” said Sy following the coaches’ meeting last Monday night at the Choi Garden Restaurant in Mandaluyong.
“Ang maganda naman ngayon is top four talaga ng NCAA nandiyan, and although nag-beg-off ang Ateneo, ‘yung Adamson na 5-0, sila ‘yung dumating to replace the team. Maganda ang laban na nakikita natin,” Sy added.
Group A is composed of NU, Arellano, and Manila Patriotic School, while Group B has De La Salle-Zobel, La Salle Greenhills, and Chiang Kai Shek College. Group C will have FEU, San Beda, and Hope Christian, as Group D has Adamson, Mapua, and St. Stephen.
Elimination round matches will be played December 10 at the SGS gym, December 11 at Chiang Kai Shek College (including opening ceremony), and December 13 at the SGS gym.
Quarterfinal matches are on December 15 at the SGS gym, while the semifinal is on December 17. The one-game championship is on December 18 at the SGS gym.