UAAP Season 79 champion De La Salle Green Archers will be back to defend its title in the forthcoming 80th Araw ng Dabaw Invitational basketball tournament set March 23-26 at the Davao City Recreation Center.
The Green Archers, who beat archrival Ateneo de Manila in the finals last December, will be representing The Royal Mandaya Hotel-CMO outfit.
“The Green Archers will be back and we have already agreed to all the arrangements,” said assistant coach Miggy Solitaria, who will also be officially joining the DLSU coaching staff effective March.
Coach Aldin Ayo will be steering the Green Archers who will be in full force except for the fiery Ben Mbala who was called for national duty in his native Cameroon.
DLSU will be known in the tournament as The Royal Mandaya Hotel-CMO La Salle Green Archers and will be bannered by Finals MVP Jeron Teng.
The other members of the squad are Justine Baltazar, Andrei Caracut,
Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, Andrew Langston, Aljun Melecio, Kib Monalbo, Brent Paraiso, Jason Perkins, Prince Rivero, Ricci Rivero, Thomas Torres and Abu Tratter.
The team will be managed by co-owners Glenn Escandor and Secretary Bong Go whose teamup has brought a slew of championships in the local basketball scene.
Tournament commissioner Cholo Elegino said the other teams which have confirmed participation are former UAAP champion National University Bulldogs, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and Montana Pawnshop.
Still awaiting confirmation are Pacman Warrriors and the Ateneo Eagles.
Elegino said from four teams, the tournament will be expanded to six and will have two groups playing single round robin. The top teams after the eliminations square off for the championship where a P100,000 top kitty and a trophy awaits the winner.
The runner-up receives P60,000, second runner-up, P40,000, third runner-up P30,000 and the last two squads P20,000 each.
The tournament is sanctioned by the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas 11.