This appears on philstar.com
All-Star and Championship to highlight SM-NBTC week
by rick olivares
March Madness is upon us!
Twenty-two of the country’s best high school basketball teams and 24 of the best juniors cagers from all across the Philippine archipelago will all compete in 5th Annual SM NBTC High School All-Star Game and SM-NBTC League National High School Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena from March 13-17.
After a long and grueling competition among over 700 high schools from 48 participating cities in the 2015-16 SM-NBTC League season, the last 22 schools standing, plus two foreign guest teams will compete for prestigious title of the best high school team in this basketball-crazy land.
Making it to the prestigious tournament are Lyceum of the Philippine University, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, Bacolod Tay Tung High School, St. Robert’s International School, Assumption Montessori School, Southern City Colleges, Assumption College of Davao, San Beda College, Chiang Kai Shek College, Bato Rural Development High School, Palawan National High School, De La Salle Lipa, Rex Dei Academy, Our Lady of the Pillar College Cauayan, Castillejos National High School, Angeles University Foundation, St. Louis College High School, Linao National High School, Paref Springdale School, Dr. Aurelio Mendoza Memorial College, Agusan National High School, and the winner of the UAAP Juniors Division (that could be decided as early as Friday, March 4, or next Friday, March 11).
Also participating in the sudden-death tournament are guest teams Durham Crossover Basketball from Canada, and Trail International School from Thailand.
“This will increase the competitiveness of the tournament and expose our high school teams to better competition,” said SM-NBTC Training Program Director and Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton. “The larger number of high school teams from the Philippines plus the foreign participation underscores the growth of this tournament that is now on its ninth year.”
Added Compton, “I cannot tell you how big a boost it is for the NBTC to receive the patronage and invaluable support of the SM Group of Companies. Because of their reach as well as the popularity of basketball, this will present educational opportunities to kids from all over the country. And for the All-Star Game and Finals to be played at the Mall of Asia Arena, where historic events like the FIBA Asia Championship of 2013 and the upcoming Rio Olympic Qualifiers have been and will be played, it adds to the premium of the event.”
SM, who currently supports the NBTC, is asked why the company has been more evident in backing sports. “As a family-driven company, SM believes that sports builds character, most especially for the youth. That is why we utilize our malls, our facilities and even our cinemas to support campaigns such as the NBTC.” Says CJ Suarez, sports development head of SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. “Not only do we financially contribute in the development of our country’s sports community but we are also hands on in helping them maintain their programs. We urge all companies to partner with us in building Philippine sports for the benefit of the nation’s youth.”
Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu is the defending tournament champion. In last year’s finals, the Magis Eagles behind Jan Jaboneta and Joshua Sinclair defeated NCAA champions San Beda, 82-78, to claim their third championship of the tournament. Jaboneta is now with the University of the Philippines while Sinclair is with National University.
In the 5th SM-NBTC All-Star Game, the country’s best have been divided into the North and South squads.
The North Team is composed of Jonas Tibetan of Chiang Kai Shek College; Sherwin Concepcion of Malayan Institute of Technology; Kris Harvey Pagsanjan of Hope Christian High School; Evan Nelle of San Beda College; Justine Baltazar and John Lloyd Clemente of National University; Tyler Tio of Xavier School; Will Allen Gozum, Javier Gomez de Liaño, and Juan Gomez de Liaño of UP Integrated School, and Jethro Madrigal of La Salle Greenhills.
The South Team counts John Galinato of Chiang Kai Shek College; Evan Agbong of Adamson University; Gian Mamuyac and Jolo Mendoza of Ateneo de Manila University; Aljun Melecio of De La Salle Zobel; Marvel Jimenez of Hope Christian High School; Samuel Abulihijle and Germy Mahinay from San Beda College; Rhayyan Amsali of National University; Rendell Joseph Lee of Xavier School; Raul Jancork Cabahug of University of the Visayas; and Jed Colonia of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu.
The Filipino All-Stars will be joined by two players each from the Canadian and Thai guest squads.
The previous four Most Valuable Player awardees of the SM-NBTC include in chronological order Ace Basas of Mapua Institute of Technology, Rey Nambatac of Colegio de San Juan de Letran College, and Ferdinand Ravena III and Michael Nieto of Ateneo de Manila University.
The SM-NBTC tournament is the official high school basketball tournament of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.