THE 2019 Chooks-to-Go National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) League National Finals gets going starting today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Now on its 12th year of staging, the NBTC League National Finals continues with its mission of being a platform to showcase what high school players in the land can do.
Began as a simple coaching clinic, the NBTC League has evolved to become one of the much-awaited annual hoops events in the country, which now also features teams from abroad.
The 32-team tournament will have five rounds in the lead-up to the National Finals, beginning with the seeding round today.
An All-Star Game is also set on the penultimate day of the event on March 23.
Looking to defend its title this year are Nazareth School of National University Bullpups who are captained by Gerry Abadiano alongside super scorer Terrence Fortea and twin towers Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo.
They are set to meet stiff challenge from other National Capital Region teams like Ateneo, led by 7’2” center Kai Sotto, and Mapua, La Salle Greenhills, San Beda, Hope Christian and Far Eastern University-Diliman.
Out to make waves from Visayas are Southwestern University and University of San Jose-Recoletos as well as Iloilo’s Sta. Clarita International School, Bacolod’s STI-West Negros University, Dumaguetue’s St. Louis School of Don Bosco, and Eastern Samar’s Dolores National High School.
From Mindanao are Cagayan de Oro’s Southern Philippine Colleges, Davao del Norte’s St. Mary’s College of Tagum, General Santos’s Holy Trinity College, and Pagadian’s Zamboanga del Sur National High School.
Adding spice to the tournament are six international teams, namely Fil-Am Sports USA, led by five-star recruit Jalen Green and Jeron Artest, son of former National Basketball Association star Metta World Peace; Durman Crossover Canada; AusPinoy Australia; Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy; Camp David New Zealand; and Top Flight Hoops Vancouver.
“With the kind of setup we have this year, it will be an exciting edition of the tournament,” assured NBTC program director Eric Altamirano in the lead-up.
The NBTC League National Finals is presented in cooperation with Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, and Molten, as well as TV5 Plus and Lighthouse Events. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo