MANILA, Philippines -- Defending UAAP champion University of the Philippines (UP) raises the curtains for the long-awaited return of the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Saturday as it takes on NCAA bridesmaid Mapua University in the opening game at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Fighting Maroons ended a 36-year title drought in the UAAP last May and are now tabbed as the favorites in the 15th staging of the preseason tournament.
A total of 17 teams from the UAP and the NCAA will kick their preparations into high gear through the Filoil tournament, before starting their respective seasons later this year.
UP and Mapua fire the first salvo at 1 p.m., immediately after the opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m.
The Fighting Maroons and the Cardinals banner Group A where they will be joined by Adamson University, University of Perpetual Help, De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, National University, Arellano University, University of the East, and Emilio Aguinaldo College.
Group B, on the other hand, will have defending NCAA champion Colegio de San Juan de Letran joined by De La Salle University, San Beda University, Far Eastern University, San Sebastian College, University of Santo Tomas, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Jose Rizal University.
The Green Archers and the Tamaraws square off at 3 p.m., while the Soaring Falcons and the Blazers complete the opening day triple-header at 5 p.m.
Teams will go through a round-robin phase, with the top four teams in each group advancing in a knockout playoffs that will culminate on August 27.
Tickets are now sold online at TicketNet, with government-mandated protocols still to be observed as fans are required to present their vaccination cards upon entry. Children below five years of age are still prohibited from entering the venue.
Games will also be shown at Filoil EcoOil Sports' Facebook page as well as in the respective schools' official social media pages.
Catch replays of UAAP Season 84 games via the UAAP Varsity channel on iWantTFC, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.