Durham Crossover Canada looking for redemption
by rick olivares
Even before Durham Crossover Canada leaves North America for its second stint in the SM-NBTC National High School Championships from March 13-16 at the Mall of Asia Arena, there is only one thing on their mind… redemption.
“That’s how we see it,” says head coach Mike Cruz of the Fil-Canadian basketball team. During their 2016 stint in the biggest high school basketball competition in the Philippines, Durham Crossover lost their initial outing, a 62-60 heartbreaker against Chiang Kai Shek College. Although they defeated St Robert’s Academy of Iloilo, 104-70, in their next match, the opening day loss knocked them out of advancing to the medal round.
In the SM-NBTC 3x3 tourney, Durham Crossover had more success as they made it to the finals where they were defeated by Davao.
The Filipino-Canadians will be returning to Manila for their second stint in the SM-NBTC tournament. They are entered in the Division One bracket that includes NCAA champion, Mapua; MMBL champion San Beda, NBTC Cebu champion Sacred Heart School Ateneo de Cebu, and foreign teams Filamsports USA, Camp David New Zealand, and AusPinoy Australia. The eighth and last team that will be included in the Division One bracket is the team that will emerge victorious from the current UAAP Juniors Finals between FEU and NU.
“Some of our returning players include Matthew Daves, Rob Ocampo, Evyn Santiago, Andre Cruz, and Alvin Florido,” bared Cruz of his mostly Toronto-based Fil-Canadians. “We also have newer ones like Nicolas Malabanan, Ben Kwawukumey, Max Cruz, and Brendon Ocampo. We are looking to Matthew Daves to lead us this time around.”
When Durham Crossover came over last season, forward James Canlas and Evyn Santiago were offered scholarships by some NCAA and UAAP squads. Canlas declined and is looking to play in the United States for a Division One school.
“The experience was great although it was a rather short stint. We look forward to a better showing this tournament,” summed up Cruz whose team will arrive in Manila one day before the tournament.
The regional NBTC competitions as presented by Freego are almost over with Isabela Colleges of Cauayan, STI of Malolos, St. Joseph College of Olongapo, University of St. La Salle of Bacolod, St. Robert’s International Academy of Iloilo, St. Louis College of Mandaue, Langatian National High School of Dipolog, Assumption Montessori School of Cagayan De Oro, Notre Dame of Midsayap College of Kidapawan, and Ateneo de Davao have all qualified for the Division Two tournament. Six more teams will likewise advance to this particular competition that that tips off on March 13.