MANILA, Philippines -- Collegiate squads will return to action -- in a new and virtual arena -- to rekindle their rivalries following an extended hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Basketball teams from ten universities and colleges will lock horns in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang 5-on-5 Varsity Cup (MVC) slated from November 10 to 21.
The event, organized by the College Center for Esports (CCE) will be streamed on the CALM Network. Day 1 features a quadruple-header bannered by a collision between rivals Colegio de San Juan de Letran and San Beda University at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
For Letran ace Fran Yu, the mission remains the same even though they are now playing in a different setting.
"Kahit pandemic, mare-represent pa rin namin 'yung school namin. Nakakapagbigay pa rin kami ng honor. Malaking bagay ito," said Yu, who was the Finals MVP in NCAA Season 95 when the Knights dethroned the Red Lions.
Yu will be joined by Jeo Ambohot, Allen Mina, King Caralipio, Shan Bautista, and Jap Pambid in the Letran ML roster opposite an equally potent San Beda unit bannered by Damie Cuntapay, Yukien Andrada, Justine Sanchez, Tony Ynot, and Gabriel Cometa.
Meanwhile, the opening match will pit Arellano University (Kai Oliva, Lars Sunga, Diego Ilao, Marlon Espiritu, and Jifford Cahigas) against College of St. Benilde (Carlo Lim, Baron Gabuyan, Ryan Daculan, Reiven Valera, Georgie Gauani, and Leonard Jaboli) at 1 p.m.
Lyceum of the Philippines University (Lorenzo Navarro, Alvin Baetiong, Carlo Abadeza, Yancy Remulla, and Shawn Umali) then collides with San Sebastian College – Recoletos (Michael Are, Kenneth Villapando, JM Calma, Camillus Altamirano, and Rafael Are) at 3 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., Emilio Aguinaldo College (Kyle Carlos, Jomar Amador, Ralph Vincent Robin, Adrian De Guzman, and Christian Angelo Cabuhat) and Mapua (Warren Bonifacio, Joaqui Garcia, Jasper Salenga, Adrian Nocum, Jomer Mercado, and Angelo Parinas) wrap up the CCE MVC opener.
University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (Jasper Cuevas, Kyle Cuevas, Lean Martel, Shawn Orgo, and Rey Joey Barcuma) and Jose Rizal University (JL Delos Santos, Jan Marc Abaoag, Hosea Mananquil, Dustin Aguado, and Donvic Aguado) meet on Thursday at 1 p.m. in the second game day complete the 10 pioneer CCE squads.
All matches of 10 squads in the single round robin qualifiers will be played in a best-of-three series until November 13.
The top eight schools then advance to the playoffs where the top four are automatically seeded to the upper bracket while the bottom four rumble in the lower bracket. Following suit will be the best-of-five semifinals and the best-of-seven championship match.
The CCE MVC is a follow-up event to the CCE 1v1 Exhibition Matches last month won by Perpetual's Jasper Cuevas, and a prelude to the official CCE season-by-season calendar next year featuring gaming aspirants and enrolled students of the participating schools.