HOPE CHRISTIAN High School faces a tough task defending its title in the second season of the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship against a field featuring National University and San Beda High School, which captured the titles in their respective mother leagues in dominating fashion.
Hope Christian assistant coach Horacio Lim said it will be much tougher for the team this time in the 11-team PSSBC, considered as the ‘champions league’ of the high school division, with the Bullpups and the Red Cubs capturing the UAAP and NCAA crowns, respectively, via sweep.
“NU, sweep. San Beda sweep. My forecast is that they will be the two teams that will battle out,” said Lim in Wednesday’s press conference and coaches’ meeting of the league at the Chang Kai Shek College campus in Manila.
The top four teams of the UAAP, NCAA, and Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association will compete in the PSSBC starting on Saturday at the Chang Kai Shek College gym. La Salle-Greenhills begged off from participating in the tournament.
“We are just hopeful that we will win the championship,” Lim said.
Also vying for top honors are Ateneo, De La Salle-Zobel, San Sebastian, Mapua, Jose Rizal University, Xavier School, Chang Kai Shek College, and St. Stephen High School.
NU coach Jeff Napa, however, said Hope Christian is still a force to be reckoned with in the tournament.
“Hope ang team to beat kasi sila ang champions dito,” said Napa. “Basta kami, laro lang kami.”
The tournament opens with a four-game bill with Chang Kai Shek facing San Sebastian at 9 a.m. following the 8 a.m. opening rites. St. Stephen battles UAAP runner-up Ateneo at 10:30 a.m. followed by JRU against Hope Christian at 12 p.m., while NU takes on Xavier at 1 p.m.
The PSSBC will run until December 8.