NATIONAL University defends its crown as NBTC holds its National Finals from March 18 to 24 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
NU coach Goldwin Monteverde sees another tough challenge for the Bullpups in their quest for their second consecutive crown against a field that includes NCAA champion Mapua, NBTC Cebu titlist Southwestern University, MMBL champion San Beda, and UAAP and NCAA runners-up Ateneo and La Salle Greenhills.
Fil-Am Sports USA will also be seeing action with top prospect Jalen Green.
“Maging part lang ng NBTC is a big honor for us,” said Monteverde during Monday’s press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena. “We’ve been part of the top 32. It’s very different from the UAAP. Siyempre kami, kung ano dumating na challenge, ‘yun ang haharapin namin.”
“With Jalen Green, malakas sila as well as from UAAP and NCAA schools,” Monteverde added.
NU beat La Salle Greenhills, 80-78, in last year’s title game with Gerry Abadiano taking charge for the Bullpups.
The Bullpups, which recently beat Ateneo to win the UAAP Season 81 crown, are seeded No. 1 in the 32-team tournament.
Mapua is seeded No. 2 followed by SWU, San Beda, Ateneo, La Salle Greenhills, University of San Jose-Recoletos and Letran.
International teams Fil-Am Sports USA, Durham Crossover Canada, Auspinoy Australia, Camp David New Zealand, Team Italy Europe Basketball and Top Flight Hoops Vancouver, as well as wildcard teams Hope Christian High School and Far Eastern University will be battling for the ninth to 16th spots in the seeding round.
Regional champions Calayan Educational Foundation, St. Augustine Pampanga, Southern Philippines College-Cagayan De Oro, St. Mary’s College of Tagum Davao Del Norte, University of Perpetual Help System-Jonelta, St. Louis of Don Bosco-Dumaguete, STI-West Negros University Bacolod, and Sto. Domingo National High School Legazpi took the 17th to 24th seed.
Narvacan National High School Candon, University of Baguio, Isabela College Cauayan, Lyceum-Cavite, Sta. Clarita International School-Iloilo, Dolores National High School Eastern Samar, Zamboanga Del Sur National High School, and Holy Trinity College General Santos will be playing in the seeding round to determine the 25th to 32nd seeds.
The losers in the first round of the knockout competition will still have a chance to capture the Division 2 title.