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CKSC/NU & Ateneo Cebu/SBC for SM-NBTC title berths
by rick olivares
And then there were four.
After 700 high schools competed for the right to compete for the best high school team in the land, the dust has settled leaving Chiang Kai Shek College, National University, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, and San Beda College as the last four teams standing in the 2016 SM-National Basketball Training Center Championships.
And that means that it is Final Four time.
Chiang Kai Shek, national champions two years ago, battles with UAAP Juniors Champion, NU in the first semifinals match at 8:30am today, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City while Ateneo de Cebu, defending champions and three-time winners of the tournament face NCAA Juniors titlists, San Beda at 11:30am.
Chiang Kai Shek dispatched Canada Durham Crossover 62-60, and Iloilo 83-45 to book their place in the semifinals while NU crushed Tay Tung High School of Bacolod, 88-38, and Assumption Montessori School of Cagayan De Oro 91-50, en route to their semifinals pairing.
Ateneo De Cebu squeaked past Traill International School of Thailand, 76-72, and Southern City Colleges of Zamboanga, 99-38, while San Beda whipped Lyceum of the Philippines University of Cavite, 82-51, and was in the midst of thrashing Assumption College of Davao as of presstime to arrange their own emis duel.
The SM-NBTC Finals will be held on Thursday, March 17, at 11am, also at the MOA Arena.
Aside from the Finals, the fifth SM-NBTC All-Star Game will be played on Wednesday with the Division II All-Star match played at 4:30pm. The guest coaches will be the Ateneo Blue Eagles duo of Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal for one team while the long-time FEU tandem of Mike Tolomia and Russel Escoto will mind the bench for the other squad.
The Division I All-Star Game will be played at 6:30pm and will be overseen by coaches Jeff Napa of UAAP Juniors Champion, NU, and JB Sison of San Beda.
The day before the All-Star matches, SM-NBTC alumni and current professional players Baser Amer formerly with San Beda and now with Meralco, as well as LA Revilla, also of San Beda and now with Mahindra, gave a pep talk to the players.
Amer grew up in Davao while Reviila was born in Bacolod; both transferred to San Beda in the middle of the high school years.
“For us who grew up in the provinces, it is harder,” shared Revilla. “So that means we have to work harder. You hear the term ‘hard work’ all the time but it real. That is the secret of your success, your determination to succeed and rise above what you have.”
For his part, Amer said that “there should be no shortcuts. You have to put in extra work. My goal was just to go to college and not have to pay my tuition. Anything else was a bonus.”
Admission to the SM-NBTC Final Four and All-Star Games are free. The tickets may be claimed at the Coral Way entrance of the SM Mall of Asia.