The race for the 17th National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (NAASCU) crown is expected to heat up with three new schools making their debut this coming season.
The Holy Angel University (HAU) – Pampanga, De La Salle Araneta University and Saint Francis of Assisi College (SFAC) are set to spice up the 16-team tournament, which kicks off on August 17 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Known for producing basketball stars like Ranidel and Yancy de Ocampo, Ervin Sotto, and Al Vergara, the Doves are already tagged as one of the teams to watch out for this season having won the National Collegiate Athletic Association –South (NCAA-South) in 2012 and 2015.
“We’ll definitely do our best to preserve our winning tradition in Saint Francis,” said SFAC sports coordinator Jose Luis Monfort on Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
Meanwhile, HAU, being one of the founding member schools of NAASCU, is returning after a near decade of absence.
Defending basketball champion St. Clare College of Caloocan (SCC) remains as the team to beat this tournament.
Other competing teams in the seniors division are Lyceum of Subic Bay, Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU), Philippine Merchant Marine School, Philippine Christian University (PCU), De Ocampo Memorial College, Enderun Colleges, Rizal Technological University, AMA University, New Era University, Colegio de San Lorenzo, City University of Pasay (CUP), and Manuel L. Quezon University.
“This 17th Season will be exciting than our previous editions. More teams are battling out for the title and we are very happy that the level of competition is getting higher and higher,” said NAASCU president Dr. Jay Adalem.
The opening ceremony of NAASCU will begin at 12 noon to be followed by the inaugural game between the Saints and Dolphins. OLFU and C.U.P. will play in the second game.