IT will be an open race to the title when the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup opens next Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
UAAP runner-up University of the Philippines heads the 16-team cast as last year’s winner Ateneo, as well as University of the East, skip the event.
The Maroons headline Group A as they finally unveil stars Ricci Rivero and Kobe Paras with UAAP MVP Bright Akhuetie and playmaker Juan Gomez de Liano.
Also in Group A are NCAA champion San Beda, University of Santo Tomas, La Salle, San Sebastian, Perpetual, Arellano and JRU.
NCAA runner-up Lyceum and a retooled Letran head Group B.
Though the two contenders lost key pieces to graduation, they remain formidable, with the Pirates banking on Jaycee Marcelino and Mike Nzeusseu and the Knights leaning on Larry Muyang and Jerrick Balanza.
Joining them in the group are Adamson, FEU, NU, St. Benilde, EAC and Mapua.
The top four teams from each group will advance to the crossover playoffs.