THE Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL) has welcomed a new member of the family in Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas, a team out to contend for the title when the league opens its second season on September 7 at the Olivarez Sports Center in Paranaque City.
The addition of LPU-Batangas has raised the number of participants to eight – counting original member schools Centro Escolar University, Olivarez College, Technological Institute of the Philippines, Colegio de San Lorenzo, Diliman College, Bulacan State University and the University of Batangas.
UCBL president Franklin Evidente said the entry of LPU was a testament to the league’s growing popularity – thanks to a successful inaugural last year won by CEU.
“We expect more fireworks this season as several schools have embarked on aggressive recruitment of both local and foreign student-athletes,” said Evidente, who is being assisted by tournament director Horacio Lim, Bernard Yang and Melo Navarro.
Evidente said they established the league last year to provide an avenue to showcase the talents of different schools on a nationwide scale.
Evidente said a tournament with television coverage will not just improve the images of the colleges but also the level of competition in the country.
Matches, he said, will be shown on IBC 13 from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight. The games will be held every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
“If you look at the situation, there are several hundreds of colleges and universities right now in Metro Manila alone. You look at the two successful leagues, they have a total of 18 (schools). Unfortunately, they are closed for memberships. What happens to the other hundred plus schools in Metro Manila alone?” Evidente said.
CEU earned the distinction as the first champion school after beating Olivarez last year.
He added the three provincial teams are out to spring a few surprises in the double-round-robin eliminations to determine the teams in the Final Four.