UAAP Season 75 host National University is prepared to pull out all the stops for a successful hosting of the tournament that will begin on July 14 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“This is the first hosting of National University with our new partners, the SM Group of Companies. We are all excited,” said UAAP Season 75 president Nilo J. Ocampo. “We want to show it to our fans, supporters, especially our alumni and make them proud of our school.”
The Bulldogs are hoping to put an end to a long title drought in the men’s basketball competition, one that has spanned over six decades.
After clinching the championship in an unbeaten run in the FilOil-Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup last month, the Bulldogs have emerged as one of the early favorites in basketball.
And what makes the competition so special for NU is the fact that most of the games will be held at the state-of-the-art MOA Arena, the country’s newest sporting stadium.
“We can call this the home of the Bulldogs,” said Ocampo. “Sixty percent of our men’s basketball games will be at MOA Arena.”
After the hour-long opening ceremonies, the Bulldogs, behind Season 74 Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, start their campaign on opening day against the University of the East Red Warriors at 2 p.m. The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers battle the Far Eastern University Tamaraws at 4 p.m.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles begin their search for a fifth consecutive seniors basketball title the next day, July 15, when they take on the Adamson Falcons in the second game after the La Salle Green Archers and the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons clash at 2 p.m.
And under the guidance of NU athletic director and UAAP secretary-treasurer Junel Baculi, the Bulldogs are now expected to be competitive in the other sports aside from basketball.
“Now for sure, not just in basketball but in all events, we hope we can give everyone some tough competition,” said Ocampo.
In Season 74, the Bullpups ruled the juniors basketball competition while the Bulldogs ended the dry spell of seniors division championships by topping the baseball tournament. NU also finished a strong second in both the men’s lawn tennis and men’s badminton competitions while the men’s volleyball team won a couple of titles in the offseason.
“I think it will be a good year for us in all events,” said Ocampo.
Ocampo also added that the Mall of Asia Arena could host the finals of both the men’s and women’s volleyball events in the second semester.