THE Ateneo de Davao University (Addu) and Holy Child School of Davao (HCSD) teams have been installed the heavy favorites when the Royal Mandaya Hotel Cup 2010 Inter-School Mini Basketball Tournament gets underway at the Davao City Recreation Center on Saturday.

Tournament director Rico Jhone Biliran and tournament manager Macario "Bong" Gonzaga announced the staging of the tournament organized by Glenn Escandor during the grand launching Wednesday at the RMH's Kanato Hall.

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Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) 11 director Regino "Boy" Cua, who is sanctioning the event, and coaches and assistant coaches of the eight competing teams were also in attendance during the press launch.

Ateneo and HCSD were seeded based on their performance in the 2010 Batang PBA Championship where they emerged finalists.

Ateneo, the reigning GS Cup titlist, heads bracket A that is also composed of the University of the Immaculate Conception (UIC), Holy Cross of Davao College and Assumption School of Davao.

HCSD, meanwhile, leads the cast in bracket B and is joined by Doña Pilar Learning Center (DPLC), Emar Learning Center and Magallanes Elementary School, the only public school in the field.

"Ateneo and Holy Child may be the stronger teams but UIC and ASD are expected to put up a stiff fight while newcomer Emar, MES, DPLC and HCDC may pull off surprises," Biliran said.

UIC coach Aladin Saldua said they are up against formidable teams, but assured they are ready as ever for the hard-court battle.

"It's always a challenge to play with the best teams like Ateneo and Holy Child but we are ready. We will do our best to defeat them," Saldua said.

MES coach Edgar Dimangadap said that they have been competing in mini events for the past four to five years.

"We treat each game a championship game. We don't really mind if we are the only public school in this tournament," Dimangadap said.

Emar coach Jun Montalban said their participation is just for exposure.

"It's our debut in the mini division so we don't really have high expectations," Montalban said.