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40 high school cagers tryout for SM-NBTC All-Star Game
by rick olivares photo by brosi gonzales
Over 40 of the best high school basketball players descended on the San Beda College gym in Manila over the past weekend to tryout for the fifth annual SM-National Basketball Training Center All-Star Game. Players from the traditional Metro Manila juniors cage powers such as San Beda, Ateneo, La Salle, Xavier, and provincial schools such the University of Visayas (Cebu), Ateneo De Iloilo, Ateneo De Cebu, Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School (Silay City, Negros Occidental), University of St. La Salle (Bacolod), Corpus Christi College (Cagayan De Oro), Assumption College of Davao, and Southern City College (Zamboanga) scrimmaged under the watchful eye of noted coach Ato Badolato, Michael Oliver, Alex Compton, and Eric Altamirano.
“It is a honor alone to be named as one of the best high school players around the country,” exclaimed Jed Colonia of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo De Cebu. “If I am selected to be a part of the All-Star Team then it will be one of the highlights in my young career. And to play in the Mall of Asia Arena… cool!”
Colonia, the six-foot swingman who is the Juniors Most Valuable Player in CESAFI, also hopes to guide his Magis Eagles to back-to-back NBTC titles on March 17.
The SM-NBTC All-Star Game will be played on March 16, 2016 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The previous recipients of the annual high school All-Star Game (in order) are Mapua’s Ace Basas, Letran’s Rey Nambatac, and Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena and Mike Nieto in succession.
“I know that a lot of coaches will also be watching,” noted Mapua’s 6’1” swingman Sherwin Concepcion who dazzled during the tryouts with his dead-eye three-point shooting and tenacious rebounding. “Although I still have two more years in the Juniors Division because of the K-12, this tryout is a good experience for me. Imagine me scrimmaging against the best. You want to show that you belong and even learn a few things from them.”
“The All-Star Game is a showcase for these young stars,” summed up NBTC Training Director and Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton. “In the past years, we’ve had players from the big programs stand up. Although Ace Basas comes from a good program like Mapua, he was one of the more unheralded players in that batch. Maybe we’ll see some of those under-the-radar players step up this year again.”
The NBTC is a nationwide grassroots program under the auspices of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas that aims to identify, prepare, and develop outstanding players from public and private schools nationwide.