NU Bullpups to defend crown in NBTC tourney

MANILA -- Fresh from winning the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) title, the Nazareth School of National University looks to add the National Basketball Training Center championship to its 2019 list as it will defend the crown from March 18-24 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Bullpups will take on 31 other teams, either from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, the teams that survived the regional finals, or a selection of high school standouts from Canada, United States, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.

"It's a great moment for us," NSNU coach Goldwyn Monteverde said during the press conference at the said venue on Monday.

The Bullpups, reigning NCAA champs Malayan Red Robins, and reigning Metro Manila Basketball League champs San Beda Red Cubs are automatically seeded into the Top 8.

NSNU is the top seed, Malayan is second, and San Beda-Taytay is fourth.

Also seeded into the Top 8 are NBTC Cebu champion Southwestern University (third), UAAP runner-up Ateneo (fifth), NCAA second placer La Salle Greenhills (sixth), NBTC Cebu runner-up University of San Jose-Recoletos(seventh), and MMBL runner-up Letran (eighth).

The other 24 teams will then play on March 18 to determine their seeds entering the start of the first round of the knockout phase the day later.

The losing teams in the Round of 32 can still claim a title as they will be place in the lower bracket, or Division 2, with a separate 16-team playoffs from Division 1.

The NBTC All-Star Game will commence on the penultimate day on March 23 with Team Hustle and Team Heart, composed of the NBTC 24 led by top national juniors player Kai Sotto, battling each other out.

As announced by National Director Eric Altamirano, Metta World Peace will help in coaching either Team Hustle's Chris Gavina or Team Heart's Charles Tiu and will also speak in the NBTC Coaches Convention.

The national finals will then take place on March 24 to culminate the week. (PNA)

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