Top varsity squads from the country’s largest collegiate athletic competitions are set to clash in this year’s biggest pre-season football tournament starting July 16.
A total of 20 teams, divided into two divisions, from the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines (NCAA), University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), as well from neighboring provinces, will banner this year’s Ang Liga.
From its humble beginnings in its first season in 2003, Ang Liga has now evolved into the country’s top platform where collegiate clubs converge before the start of their mother leagues.
Defending champions Far Eastern University (FEU) lead the pack in the first division, together with fellow UAAP teams University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), National University (NU), University of Santo Tomas (UST) and University of the East (UE).
San Beda College (SBC), last year’s NCAA runners-up, headline the contingent from the oldest athletic association in the country, together with College of Saint Benilde (CSB) and Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU).
Also, provincial team University of Batangas will be diving into action in the first division this season following their victory in last year’s second division games.
Division 2 will feature the teams of Emilio Aguinaldo College, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, Malayan Colleges Laguna, Don Bosco Technical College, De La Salle Araneta, and Rizal Technical University.
Reserve teams from high caliber teams FEU, SBC, UP, and UST will also be competing in the second tier of the tourney.
Meanwhile, the Ang Liga will use a single-round elimination format and is scheduled to hold games at the FEU-Fern Field, San Beda Football Field, UST Football Field, Moro Lorenzo Field, and at the Don Bosco Field in Mandaluyong.
Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, the country’s national football stadium, will also be used as a venue for the games, as well as the new PFF training pitch in Carmona, Cavite.
Consequently, the LPU Pirates and the UP Fighting Maroons will kick off the season with their first division meeting at 8 a.m on Saturday, July 16, at the SBC Manila Football Field.
Also happening on the opening day are the battles between SBC Team B and UP Team B in the second division at 10 a.m. while SBC Team A meets UB at 1 p.m.