FOUR teams from the Summer Capital take center stage for the opening of the Baguio Inter-City basketball tournament when it opens January 9 at the University of Baguio Gym.

The winner in the six day event will represent Baguio in the national championship with two national crowns at stake making the tournament even more competitive as the league field has grown to 108 teams from a humble start of only 29 clubs backed by commercial and local government units.

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The national finals will feature four teams from the NCR contesting the NCR title and eight teams from the provinces battling it out for the national title in the tournament envisioned to be a feeder program for varsity squads and teams catering to leagues such as the UAAP, NCAA, Philippine Basketball League, Philippine Basketball Association and the Liga Pilipinas.

Saint Louis University and the University of Baguio will try to renew their rivalry in the hard court. SLU will don the Magnolia jersey while UB will wear the Victory Liner colors.

But Baguio City National High School and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Montessori will try to break the two schools' dominance in the 18 and under basketball tournament backed by San Miguel Pure Foods Company (SMPFC) and telecoms giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) unit Smart Communications and Burlington.

SLU-Magnolia will open their title bid hunt against Mt. Carmel Burlington after the 1 p.m. opening followed by the 3:00 p.m. game between the UB -Victory Liner and the BCNHS - BMEG squad.

Games for January 10 will be played at the Cordillera Career Development College gym with BCNHS- BMEG battling the SLU - Magnolia at 1 pm while Mt. Carmel-Burlington battles UB- Victory Liner.

Extensive talent identification camps were conducted by the organizers to help participating teams determine the players who will join their rosters in the ongoing Nokia National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) D-League. (Roderick Osis)