|The NBTC HS All-Star Light Team coached by Ateneo's Joe Silva|
The NBTC High School All-Star Game: A showcase for talent
by rick olivares
“I just want to play basketball,” said Kenneth Alas of the NCAA champion San Beda Red Cubs. “You play for the love of the game and as you get older, you dream of playing for your high school team and you hope to win a championship. And then you want to play for a good college team and hopefully, with the national team and the PBA. That’s the dream. But for now, to be considered one of the 24 best high school players all over the country is an honor.”
The third of the four sons of noted basketball coach Louie Alas pretty much said what was on the mind of the 24 players who gathered for their first practice before the National Basketball Training Center High School All-Star Game tips off at 11am on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Meralco Gym. The Seaoil NBTC Championship by the best two high school teams in the country will be played after at 1pm.
Alas’ teammate in the Red Cubs, Marc Diputado, hails from Dumaguete where football and basketball compete equally for the hearts and minds of youth. His older brother, Rev, was a rookie on National University’s champion team in the UAAP seniors division. With the NCAA Seniors Red Lions loaded at the point guard position, the younger Diputado isn’t sure yet where he’s going for college. He knows that the NBTC High School All-Star Game attracts a lot of college coaches and scouts. Like his fellow All-Stars, he is out to showcase his wares to a wider audience.
“Basta ibibigay ko yung best ko,” he quipped.
Mapua’s Ace Basas was the inaugural NBTC High School All-Star Game MVP when he outshone teammate JJ Alejandro, Xavier’s Jeron Teng, San Beda’s Tonio Bonsubre, Chiang Kai Shek College’s Kevin Baytan, and La Salle Zobel’s Gab Reyes who led a star-studded cast. Following his stellar coming out party, Basas was recruited by Ateneo where he played for its Team B.
Sacred Heart School-Ateneo De Cebu’s point guard Henry Asilum was also recruited by the University of the Philippines in that same event.
The game isn’t simply for the players. By virtue of winning the UAAP Juniors Division, Ateneo Blue Eaglets head coach Joe Silva will be coaching in his first high school All-Star game.
“I think Joe is finally being given the recognition he deserves,” noted Edmundo “Ato” Badolato, the legendary San Beda Red Cubs coach who has served as the NBTC’s Selection Committee Chairman since its inception in 2007.
After Basas, Letran’s Rey Nambatac was named MVP the following year with Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena claiming the same honors in last year’s all-star tilt.
“Last high school game ko na ‘to,” said San Beda’s Andrei Caracut who is De La Salle University-bound after graduation. “Syempre, I will give my best. Bonus yung to end my high school career ko with a MVP Award. Pero inisip ko lang talaga ay to have fun. Lahat kasi ng nandito mga kaibigan ko na.”