Teams are now on their game face for the 11th season of SM-NBTC (National Basketball Training Center) League happening from March 18 to 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The weeklong national finals and the annual high school all-star game gears up with 32 high school basketball teams, including champion teams from various leagues all over the Philippines, as well as from Filipino communities based in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States of America, all competing to stand out as the best high school team for this season.
Among the seeded entries are the recently crowned UAAP Juniors champion Ateneo De Manila, NCAA Juniors division titlist La Salle Greenhills, CESAFI king University of Visayas, and MMBL winner Chiang Kai Shek. Earning wild cards berths are the squads from National University, Mapua, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo De Cebu, San Beda College, UST, Letran, and Adamson, who all made podium finishes in their respective leagues.
Also taking part in this massive tournament patterned after the NCAA tournament in the US are teams from Cagayan De Oro, Cavite, Davao, Midsayap, Baguio, Roxas City, Calamba, Bataan, Bacolod, Ormoc, Dumaguete, Pagadian, Dagupan, San Fernando, Naga, and Lipa City. These provincial squads will be competing with teams from the National Capital Region for Division One and Two trophies.
The international and the wild card teams will battle those from Bataan, Bacolod, Ormoc, Dumaguete, Pagadian, Dagupan, and San Fernando in the seeding round on opening day, March 18. Results will determine the final seeding, after which, teams will play against each other based on ranking. The day-to-day winning teams will advance to the next round while the losing teams will have another chance at the Division Two competition.
The Division One and Two championships, plus the all-star game, will take place on Friday, March 23. Ateneo Blue Eaglet center Kai Sotto, who topped the eight-week Chooks To Go NBTC 24 High School Player Rankings, will lead the line-up together with top players such as LSGH’s Joel Cagulangan, Ateneo’s SJ Belangel and Dave Ildefonso, and Mapua’s Will Gozum, among many others.
“Every year that we have been organizing the tournament, we have refined it to what it is now – a premier showcase for high school basketball,” said SM-NBTC Founder Eric Altamirano. “We have seen it grow from an initial few cities to over 70 cities all over the country. And it has also become a springboard for Fil-foreign teams to showcase their players who might want to study in the Philippines or play for the various national teams.”
“SM has been proudly supporting NBTC since 2015, as we believe in what they stand for: to champion the skills of the Filipino youth through sports development by applying the values of leadership, teamwork, excellence, and discipline,” said SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman to the Executive Committee Hans T. Sy.
“As part of the SM group, Mall of Asia Arena is also in proud support of SM-NBTC League by providing a venue with world-class facilities,” said SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc. Chief Operating Officer Herman Medina-Cue.
Exped Charcoal Socks presents SM-NBTC League National Finals is happening from March 18 to 23, 2018 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Darlington, Freego, and Chooks To Go are this season’s co-presenters, together with Cherifer, Petron, and Vivo as major sponsors. Also in support are Hino, Akari, Oishi, Gerry’s Grill, and Molten (the official ball of SM-NBTC League).