The Ateneo Blue Eagles are about to open their quest for a back-to-back championship in season 78 of the UAAP junior basketball tournament.
They wll face La Salle-Zobel this Saturday, Nov. 14.
The Blue Eaglets are considered as the most successful high school squad in 19 titles.
They remain solid even without brothers Mike Nieto and Matthew Nieto.
The two have already moved into the college ranks.
Last season’s Finals MVP Jolo Mendoza, Batang Gilas mainstays Gian Mamuyac and Shaun Ildefonso will have their turn to shine.
They will be the vital cogs for Ateneo, according to observations.
Last season, Ateneo defeated National University in the title round.
All eyes also are on the Junior Archers, who will rely on high-scoring Aljun Melecio, Brent Paraiso, Martin Romero, and Marco Sario.
After a slow start, La Salle-Zobel needed a strong second round and eventually achieved a podium finish after beating Adamson in the first step-ladder semis match.
The Eaglets-Junior Archers match is scheduled at 11 a.m..
This is right after the Bullpups-Baby Falcons tussle at 9 a.m.
Far Eastern University-Diliman plays UP Integrated School at 1 p.m., while University of Santo Tomas and University of the East take on the floor at 3 p.m.
NU, being the Season 76 champion, hopes to do well even without Mark Dyke, Jordan Sta. Ana and Philip Manalang who have already graduated,
Justine Baltazar and John Lloyd Clemente are expected to lead the way.