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SBP Invitation games featuring eight collegiate squads of NCAA and UAAP

THE PHILIPPINES shows a glimpse of its preparations for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup when it stages a simulation of the games in two different venues today featuring eight collegiate squads, led by reigning collegiate champions Ateneo de Manila University and San Juan de Letran University.

The Blue Eagles, champions of the UAAP and the Knights, three-time titlists of the NCAA, banner the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Invitational games in line with the FIBA schedule at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Four more teams headlined by newly-minted PBA D-League champion De La Salle University then play at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay as the country holds a test run for the world championships on Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 here.

Ateneo and Letran collide at 4 p.m. followed by the 8 p.m. battle between Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup champion University of the Philippines and San Beda University at the Big Dome.

At the MOA Arena, De La Salle clashes with St. Benilde University at 4:45 p.m. while National University and Mapua University duel at 8:30 p.m.

The schedule is similar to the group phase of the 32-team showpiece assigned to the Philippines (Groups A and B in Quezon City as well as Groups C and D in Pasay City) as other teams play in Japan (Groups E and F) and Indonesia (Groups G and H).

Example is the opener on Aug. 25 pitting Italy and Angola of Group A at 4 p.m. at the Big Dome. Group D’s Mexico and Montenegro clash at 4:45 p.m. followed by the 8:30 p.m. duel of Lithuania and Egypt at the MOA Arena.

Gilas, which will play the rest of its group games at the Araneta Coliseum, will have its opening match against Dominican Republic in Group A at 8 p.m. at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

On top of the simultaneous schedule, the SBP as the head host federation will also test the event logistics, including the transportation route in and out of the venue and the live TV broadcast.

The Philippines, hosting for the first time since 1978, will also be home to the World Cup finals at the MOA Arena aside from its group assignment. — John Bryan Ulanday

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