THE best high school players from Manila’s premier leagues take centerstage once again with the staging of the 2nd PCABL Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup on Saturday at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy gym in Quezon City.
Multi-titled Chiang Kai Shek College is the defending champion of the annual preseason tournament but all eyes will be on reigning UAAP champion Ateneo and National University as they renew their college rivalry.
Completing the nine-team cast of the event also sponsored by Smart Telecom, Advance Solutions Inc., Hapee Toothpaste, Fed Seal, Powerhouse, CW Home Depot and Powerbest Marketing are University of the Philippines, University of the East, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, Hope Christian High School and Letran Team B.
Tournament Director Horacio Lim said Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Cup COO Jefferson dela Cruz and PBA Most Improved Player awardee Terrene Romeo will make the ceremonial toss.
Ateneo and NU start hostilities at 9:30 a.m. while Tiong Lian rivals Chiang Kai Shek College and Hope Christian High School clash at 11 a.m.
University of the Philippines Integrated School and Far Eastern University tangle in the fourth and last game of the day right after the 1 p.m. showdown between Letran and University of the East.
Using their failure to complete a back-to-back UAAP championship last year as an added motivation, the NU Bullpups ruled the FREEGO Cup with a masterful 10-game sweep, including a 58-51 win over La Salle-Zobel in the final.
The Bullpups reached the final by eking out a hard-fought win over the Eaglets – their UAAP Finals tormentors -- in the semis.
Expected to lead NU’s charge are John Clemente, bull-strong Justin Baltazar, Carl Penano and Joshua Jugar – the same players that starred in the team’s thrilling win over the Archers.
With the absence of several key players, the CKSC Dragons failed to get past the playoffs of the FREEGO Cup – an event they dominated two years ago.