Red Robins, Baby Tams lead NBTC National Championship
Mark Escarlote on Mar 10, 2017 09:16 AM
National Basketball Training Center National High School Championship opens on Monday.
The Mapua Red Robins and the San Beda College Red Cubs extend their rivalry in the coming National Basketball Training Center with UAAP champion Far Eastern University looking to join the fray for the National High School Championship Division I crown starting March 13 at the MOA Arena.
With last year’s defending champion National University missing the cut, the NCAA Season 92 winner Red Robins, Red Cubs and Baby Tamaraws are all considered title favorites in the eight-team field which include Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) titlist Ateneo de Cebu.
Four international teams Camp David-New Zealand, Fil-Am Sports USA, AusPinoy One Solutions and Crossover Sports Canada will test the mettle of the local squads in the four-day basketball meet already in its 10th edition.
The eight teams are divided into two groups playing in a round robin format where the top two teams in each bracket will faceoff in the crossover Final Four.
Meanwhile, 16 schools coming from different parts of the country will compete in the Division II. The teams are divided into four groups with four teams each. The top squads in each bracket after the elims will advance in the knockout semifinals.
Mapua is looking to annex its second straight title after claiming the NCAA crown at the expense of San Beda.
“Gawin lang namin ‘yung pina-practice namin. Sana makatsamba ulit,” said coach Randy Alcantara Thursday during the press launch of the event.
The Red Cubs for their part are on a mission to capture the title after consecutive runner up finishes.
“For the past two years, second placer kami so I tell my boys to do better,” said SBC coach JB Sison. “We’ll prepare hard again sa kung sino ang makakalaban namin.
Sison also welcomed the opportunity to take on taller international teams.
“Totally different experience for us,” he said. “Mas maganda ‘yung mataas na competition, better for us.
FEU makes a return to NBTC but this will be the first time for head coach Allan Albano, who steered the Baby Tams to the UAAP throne at the expense of NU.
“First time ko makarating sa NBTC. Nakakatakot daw ang San Beda,” he joked. “Gagawin lang namin ang best namin tulad ng ginawa naming sa UAAP and hopefully, maging Cinderella kami.
The three coaches are joined by Division II coaches JRex Atienza of De La Salle-Lipa and Wilson Ang of St. Jude- Cavite. Also in the presser were NBTC products Kiefer Ravena and Rey Nambatac, NBTC program director Eric Altamirano, ABS-CBN Sports head Dino Laurena and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios.
The Division II and Division I Finals will air live via livestream on March 16 starting 2:00 p.m. and on a delayed basis at 6 p.m. on S+A channel 23.
The NBTC All-Star, meanwhile, will also be shown via livestream starting 9:00 a.m. and on a delayed basis on March 17, Friday starting 2 p.m. on S+A channel 23.
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