TOP Manila-based collegiate teams battle it out for spots in the Final Four of the 2019 National Collegiate Championship starting on Saturday in San Juan.
UAAP champion Ateneo and runner-up University of Santo Tomas, and NCAA titlist Letran and second placer San Beda figure in the UAAP/NCAA Challenge phase, with the top two teams progressing to the semifinals.
The four teams play a round-robin format with games slated this weekend and will continue on Feb. 15.
The top two finishers will take on the Luzon Champion and the Vis/Min Champion for the title.
It will be a new-look Blue Eagles, with them banking on Ange Kouame, Will Navarro and SJ Belangel in lieu of their seniors.
The Growling Tigers, meanwhile, have an intact roster with Senegal's Soulemane Chabi Yo, Mark Nonoy, CJ Cansino and Rhenz Abando leading the way.
Larry Muyang and Fran Yu will hoist the flag for the Knights, while Calvin Oftana and James Canlas will lead the fight for the Red Lions.
Letran and UST open the festivities at 2 p.m. on Saturday, before Ateneo and San Beda face off at 4 p.m.
Rivalries will also be rekindled on Sunday, with the Knights facing the Red Lions at 2 p.m., and the Blue Eagles taking on the Growling Tigers at 4 p.m.
San Beda and UST meet at 2 p.m. on Feb. 15, before champions Ateneo and Letran end the phase at 4 p.m.
Ateneo is the defending champion of the tournament, beating University of the Visayas in last year's finals.