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San Beda-SSC-R renew ‘NC’ rivalry

The so-called University Belt (U-Belt) rivalry between defending champion San Beda College and San Sebastian College-Recoletos will be rekindled when NCAA basketball tournament opens on July 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Their 2 p.m. encounter is not only going to be the renewal of the seething rivalry in the past but also the formal reunion between veteran coach Boyet Fernandez and his Red Lions squad.

Fernandez was recalled to handle the team following the exit of Jamike Jarin who moved over to National University.

Fernandez had earlier steered the team to back-to-back championships.

With a theme “Reignite Braver, Bolder, Stronger and United,” season host SSC hopes to put on a dazzling opening show starting at 1 p.m.

Arellano, last year’s runner-up collides with last season’s Final Four contender Mapua at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, the “NCAA on Tour” will be held every Thursday with Mapua hosting the kick off game on July 20 followed by San Sebastian-Cavite on July 27, Letran on Aug. 3, Emilio Aguinaldo on Aug. 10 and Perpetual Help on Aug. 17– all in the first round.

There will be three seniors games on Tuesdays and Fridays, majority of those will be held at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

“The idea is to reignite the student’s passion for the NCAA by bringing the games straight to them,” said NCAA Management Committee chair Fr. Glyn Ortega of San Sebastian. “Also, it will be part of our celebration of our 100th year anniversary a few years from now.”

Apart from this, the league is also planning to introduce 3×3 basketball and futsal as special events in the second semester.