Saturday, March 30, 2019

Jr. NBA heads to Dumaguete this weekend

Jr. NBA heads to Visayas
The Jr. NBA Philippines programs is set to make their lone Visayan stop this coming weekend.

The City of Dumaguete is hosting the third Regional Selection Camp on March 30-31, which is open for boys and girls between the age of 10-14, specifically at the St. Louis School of Don Bosco.

Overseeing the RSC are Jr. NBA coaches like Rob Newson and Jeffrey Cariaso. They will not only teach basketball fundamentals but also impart the core program values of Sportsmanship, Teamwork, a positive Attitude, and Respect to the participants.

Day 1 provides aspiring Jr. NBA All-Stars the chance to strut their stuff on certain skills stations that will test their capability in either dribbling, passing, shooting, or footwork. Be outstanding there, and one can get called back for Day 2 the next day, where they will be taught advanced basketball concepts, as well as be involved in team exercises and scrimmages. It is from that group that the coaches will make their pick as to who will participate in the National Training Camp in May at the Don Bosco Technical Institute.

It is from the NTC that as many as five boys and five girls will be selected as the Jr. NBA All-Stars. They will then get the chance at the Jr. NBA Asia-Pacific Selection Camp for slots at the first Asia-Pacific team that will participate in the Jr. NBA Global Championship in August at Orlando.

This year's edition of the Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 presented by Alaska is also sponsored by AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona, and Vivo as official partners.  ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV serve as the official broadcasters of Jr. NBA Philippines.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Nine selected from Jr. NBA Philippines North Luzon Regional Selection Camp

The lucky nine who made it out of the Northern Luzon Regional Selection camp.
The second Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Selection Camp took place last March 23-24 inside the campus of Benguet State University in La Trinidad, where over a thousand young basketball players showcased their best basketball skills.

Out of that huge number, nine made the cut to the upcoming National Training Camp this coming May, based on their skill and embodiment of the core values the program stands for.

Seven boys were feted as outstanding RSC participants: thirteen year olds Laurence Christian Batongbakal of Saint Mary's University, Jushrylle Rayne de Vera of Baguio City National High School, Zak Adlee Gumaya of Berkeley School of Baguio, and Czarlo Lorenzo Salvador of Ateneo de Davao, as well as fourteen year olds Kenneth Gabriel Duca of University of Baguio Science High School, Aethan Pagio of University of Baguio, and Nathaniel Tomeldan of St. Louis University - Laboratory High School.

Two girls also made the nod in thirteen-year old Jhulliana Francesca Pagteilah of San Jose School of La Trinidad, Inc. and twelve-year old Christine Nicole Veuterez of Baguio City National High School.

These nine will have the chance to impress in the Jr. NBA National Training Camp at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati, where the Jr. NBA Philippines All-Stars are going to be plucked out from. These All-Stars, which could reach as many as five boys and five girls, will have the chance to impress in the first edition of the Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific Selection Camp, a week-long camp in June where they have the chance to measure themselves against their regional counterparts. Be outstanding there and one will have the chance to represent the region at the Jr. NBA Global Championship in August inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

When asked about the profile of this particular RSC, Tony dela Cruz had this to say, "What I’ve noticed here in Baguio is that there are a lot of good dribblers. The kids here are very competitive, very enthusiastic. They’re working hard. The three questions I always ask the kids – Did you have fun? Did you give your best? And the last one is, do you love basketball? And it’s all, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and I think that’s our goal here, making sure that the kids are learning basketball, they’re having fun and more importantly they are giving their best."

There are three more Regional Selection Camps remaining for interested participants: Dumaguete on March 30-31, Butuan on April 13-14, and Metro Manila on April 27-28. For more details, you can check out

The Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 is presented by Alaska, with official partners AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona, and Vivo. ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium TV serve as official broadcasters.

2019 edition of #SLAMRisingStars set

The 2019 Batch of #SLAMRisingStars
Some of the best high school stars in the Philippines are back together on one floor, showcasing their talent and skills at the 2019 SLAM Rising Stars Classic

The 2018 edition saw Kai Sotto carry Team Punks to a thrilling overtime victory over Team Hype, a feat that helped him be named as co-MVP in the game.

The 2019 edition looks to be special with the likelihood that Sotto plays his final game before he heads to the United States to begin the next step of his career.

Team Hype

This season's UAAP HS MVP is part of Team Hype this time around, alongside his Ateneo teammate Geo Chiu, La Salle-Zobel's Raven Cortez, and Mapua/Malayan's Jonnel Policarpio to set up their length. This quartet puts Team Hype's bigs at an average height of 6'8".

Backing up such height for Team Hype are a good combo of guards and wings. Leading the way are Forthsky Padrigao of Ateneo and a trio of Red Robins in Dan Arches, Paolo Hernandez, and Clint Escamis. Completing the team are a couple of Adamson Baby Falcons in Adam Doria and Joem Sabandal, with FEU's Royce Alforque, JRU's John Amores, and Xavier's Miguel Tan.

Team Punks, on the other hand, will be basking in the recent afterglow of the NBTC.

Leading the way is the core of the best high school team in the country, Nazareth-NU. The Bullpups have three players represented in SLAM Rising Stars: recently named NBTC Finals MVP Carl Tamayo, and All-NBTC members Terrence Fortea and Gerry Abadiano. Fellow Division I All-NBTC members Joshua David and RJ Abarrientos are also part of Team Punks, as well as NBTC All-Star MVP Mark Nonoy of UST.

Team Punks
Two of David's teammates at La Salle-Greenhills, Inand Fornilos and Joel Cagulangan, are also in Team Punks, fresh from helping the Greenies make back-to-back trips to the NBTC National Finals Championship Game. In addition, Lyceum's Mac Guadana helped power the Junior Pirates to the Finals in Div II of the NBTC, and also got him an all-NBTC nod for that Division.

Rounding out Team Punks are a couple of bigs in Bismark Lina of UST and Aaron Fermin of Arellano, as well as Harvey Pagsanjan of UE and Xyrus Torres of FEU.

Coaching Team Hype is Yuri Escueta, while Gian Nazario handles Team Punks. Each team will have a SLAM Rising Stars alumnus acting as an Associate Head Coach.

Thirdy Ravena joins Team Punks, where he played in 2014.
Juan Gomez de Liano joins Team Hype, where he played in 2017.

Joining Sotto in their final go-around at the SLAM Rising Stars are Abarrientos, Sabandal, Pagsanjan, Fermin, and Nonoy, as these five are set to take the stage as the hotshot newcomers in the seniors division of the UAAP come Season 82. The others will find this an oppotunity to step up their game and show out for their respective upcoming high school seasons when it kicks off in a few months.

The 2019 edition of the SLAM Rising Stars will be on March 31 at Gatorade Hoops Center at 7pm. The game will be shown LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports' YouTube channel.

Monday, March 25, 2019

PHISGOC welcomes Pocari Sweat as new partner

From L-R: Pato Gregorio, Alan Peter Cayetano representing PHISGOC, Yoshihiro Bando and Kohei Oyamada representing Pocari Sweat
The Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee announced a new partnership on Monday, as they welcomed Otsuka Pharmaceutical as their latest partner in the upcoming 30th SEA Games.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical is the company that manufactures Pocari Sweat, with its distribution in the Philippines being taken care of by Otsuka-Solar Philippines, Incorporated.

As a Gold Tier Sponsor, Pocari Sweat is set to be the exclusive rehydration isotonic drink of the 30th South East Asian Games.

The ceremony was personally witnessed by PHISGOC Chairperson Alan Peter Cayetano, who shared this with regards to the new partnership, "We are happy to share with our partners that the preparations are in full swing and the entry of Pocari Sweat will provide a big boost to our commitment to achieve our goals and tasks."

He adds, "The continuous outpouring of support from different multinational companies boosts our confidence that we can overcome all the challenges to deliver the best SEA Games ever."

Representing Pocari Sweat in the MOA signing is Yoshihiro Bando.

Having been a partner at numerous Asian Games, this is the first time they are entering such an agreement for the SEA Games, which takes place this coming November.

Pocari Sweat joins Ajinomoto, Asics, Atos, GL Events, Grand Sport, Marathon, Mikasa, Molten, and Philippine Airlines as sponsors for the SEA Games, which helps ensure that the games are successful with the combined participation of both government and international giant sponsors. Meanwhile, a partnership with Media Pro Asia has been set up to handle the broadcast.

PHISGOC has given these companies assurances that they will be given the best value for their sponsorship, noting that the country has raised its standards of hosting such an international tournament.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Speed Regalo Youth Football League set for March 31 launch

Kaya FC Academy is one of the different champions at the YFL
The 2019 Speed Regalo Youth Football League (YFL) is set to kick off its tournament at the Ayala Alabang Country Club on March 31, with twenty teams fielding squads across a variety of age bracket divisions.

The YFL is an offshoot of the United Football League-Youth tournament, since it is also organized by the Football Alliance, which had organized the UFL for many years.

YFL President Mike Atayde says, "I think most of the club members are all quite excited to start YFL season 2019. We have a lot more teams this year and a lot more kids involved, so I hope we can deliver the kind of competition level everyone is expecting, so I guess those are the things we want to make sure will happen."

Kicking off action on the 31st are matches in the Under-7, Under-9, Under-11, and Under-13, with the Under-15 and Under-17 getting their turn on April 7.

Eventually, all matches will take place at the football facilities inside the Manila Jockey Club at Carmona, Cavite.

As a precursor to the tournament, the YFL held a one-day football festival back in March 10. In addition, the league is also set to have additional events this year, led by the YFL Cup. It is also to have regional tournaments at nine locations nationwide, with an invitational tounament and a national championship to end the year.

The 2019 edition of the Speed Regalo YFL season is sponsored by Globe, HG, LGR, Manila Jockey Club, Umbro, and Bootcamp, with Manila Bulletin and FOX Sports Philippines serving as its media partners.

UAAP Streetdance set to stomp the weekend

Streetdance today
The eighth edition of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines' Streetdance Competition is set to take precedence, highlighting the best exponents of hip-hop, breakdance, and bodypopping at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

One of the few non-sporting activities the league conducts in a season, the Streetdance Competition allows the best dance crews in both college and high school to strut their stuff against their other counterparts.

Defending champions Street Alliance of the FEU Dance Company and UST Galvanize are both looking to successfully retain their titles. Both won their first title last season, with Galvanize becoming the inaugural winners in the HS division.

Three-time champion and last year's first runner-up La Salle Dance Company-Street is leading the charge in this year's edition, with all eight schools participating in the collegiate division. Ateneo is the only school not participating in the HS division.

The order of performances is as follows:


Adamson CAST
National University Underdawgz
Far Eastern University Street Alliance
Company of Ateneo Dancers - Street
La Salle Dance Company - Street
University of Santo Tomas Prime
UP Street Dance Club
University of the East Street Warriors

High School:

Adamson Cauldron Dance Company
Nazareth-NU Underdawgz
FEU Baby Tamaraws Dance Company
La Salle-Zobel Dance Company
UST Galvanize
UE Street Varsity

A new wrinkle for this year's streetdance is the introduction of the UAAP-JBL Freestyle Dance Showdown, where a participant from each UAAP school out-battle each other on the dance floor.

Coverage of the UAAP Season 81 Streetdance starts at 2pm on S+A, LIGA, and their respective HD equivalent channels, as well as streaming available on iWant and on

Friday, March 22, 2019

Fight Night III: Philippines vs Korea set for April slugfest

Cage Gladiators' upcoming MMA event
Mixed Martial Arts fans in the country can check out the upcoming fight card of Cage Gladiators and Hitman MMA, as they have joined forces once again to put up Fight Night III: Philippines vs Korea.

This MMA event will take place on April 14 at the Skydome in SM North EDSA, and as acknowledged in its title, will feature a Filipino in Jeffrey Biron of MUMMA Fight Club going up against a Korean in Kim Jae Woong of Extreme Combat as its main event.

Aside from the three-round featherweight matchup, the co-main event also pits a Pinoy and a Korean, with Miguel Alo of Sprawl MMA set to tangle against Min Hyeok Lee of Extreme Combat in a lightweight division scrap.

Hitman MMA's Burn Soriano shares, "I am looking forward to the third edition of our fight night series, which will be the biggest so far in its existence. I am proud that local MMA is reaching new heights with the Philippines vs. Korea fight card this time. I am very excited for our fighters and for the continued success of Cage Gladiators/Hitman MMA as a promotion and as a means to help deserving local MMA talents."

Cage Gladiators' Laurence Canavan adds, "This will be a treat for fans as we all continue to raise the bar in promoting fighters and giving them the necessary platforms to be successful in local MMA."

The rest of the matchups in Fight Night III: Philippines versus Korea are as follows:

Jiar Castillo vs Genil Francisco (Bantamweight)

Kevin Guevara vs John Tirona (Light Heavyweight)

Ezekiel Cerbito vs Ian Jay Batoto (Strawweight)

Jayco Madrona vs Alexander Aballe (Featherweight)

Rod Santos vs Chance Buentiempo (Featherweight)

Edrion Mac vs Luke Quinlan Cruz (Flyweight)

Cesar Paragas vs Philip Ahuganan (Bantamweight)

Mark Mabute vs Bener Santig (Flyweight)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Six add international flavor to NBTC All-Star Game

This guy is joining Team Heart
The NBTC has announced a few more additions to the 2019 Chooks-to-Go SM NBTC All-Star Game this coming Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Six players from three of the overseas squads will be joining the local HS stars in one of the much-anticipated gathering of some of the best Filipino high school ballers.

Joining Team Heart of injured captain Joel Cagulangan are three key cogs of FilAm Sports USA, with Jalen Green, Jeron Artest, and Kai Ballungay. They join the Charles Tiu-coached squad alongside Carl Tamayo, Inand Fornilos, Joshua David, Harvey Pagsanjan, Aaron Fermin, Paolo Hernandez, Dan Arches, Joshua Yerro, Mac Guadana, Rafael Go, Joem Sabandal, and Adam Doria.

A fourth member of FilAm Sports USA in Brandon Wilson will join Durham Crossover's Tayler Garcia and AusPinoy's Jasper Rentoy will join Team Hustle of captain Kai Sotto. They join the Chris Gavina-coached squad alongside Mark Nonoy, Bismarck Lina, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, Kevin Quiambao, Geo Chiu, Forthsky Padrigao, RJ Abarrientos, John Amores, Jonnel Policarpio, Tony Ynot, and the injured Clint Escamis.

The All Star Game will take place on Saturday, with the Div II version at 12nn and the Div I version at 3pm. Game will be shown LIVE on 5Plus.

The Chooks-to-Go SM NBTC National Finals presented by SM and the NBTC All-Star Game is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

The week-long tourney is still free of admission, with fans needing just a valid ID to enter SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Allianz reaffirms OCR commitment for 2019

From Left to Right: James Bungubung, Conquer Challenge; Rei Abrazaldo, Branding Communications and Digital Director, Allianz PNB Life; Gae Martinez, Chief Marketing Officer, Allianz PNB Life; Noel Agra, Ninja OCR; and Jay Lim, OSF.
On Wednesday, Allianz Philippines once again partners with Conquer Challenge Philippines to hold the Allianz OCR Sunday on March 31 at Filinvest Alabang.

According to Allianz PNB Life Chief Marketing Officer Gae Martinez, "As a company that uses sports to connect with communities and people, Allianz Philippines has chosen to be associated with OCR. We saw how the spirit of the sport is strongly aligned and consistent with our brand belief."

Martinez adds, "As in OCR and in life, there are obstacles that you need to overcome before you reach your destination. Both follow a journey of trials, failures, and successes. Many are holding back to make a big step to achieve their dreams or afraid to take the risk. That’s why Allianz is here to give people the courage to move forward and triumph over these obstacles."

Allianz OCR Sunday has two components, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The first one is the Conquer Challenge, which has two divisions: a 1.5km race with eight obstacles and a five-kilometer race with twenty obstacles.  James Bungubung shares that it is one of the few entry-level obstacle course races in the country.

The Conquer Challenge will also feature five Aetas who took part in the Conquer Challenge that took place in Clark last December. 22-year old Jacob King, 21-year old Miracle Lansang, 20-year old Danilo Yugyug, 17-year old Gelyann Soria, and 16-year old Ivy Pelayo are all from Villa Maria in Porac, a community that Allianz adopted.

Martinez says, "We are glad that OCR became an avenue for Allianz to bring to light social inclusion, which is one of most important challenges of our society today and an integral part of our corporate social responsibility."

The afternoon portion of Allianz OCR Sunday will feature Ninja OCR, which is composed of short distance obstacle course races that will not necessitate running. Noel Agra shares that there will be different categories for interested participants: individual (men / female), team, kids, and dogs. Each category will have a varied distance, difficulty, and obstacles.

Interested participants for either race on Allianz OCR Sunday have until March 24 to register. One can be as young as seven years old to take part, with several categories to choose from.

For the 1.5km Conquer Challenge OCR, the fee is PhP 1,200 with a timing chip, race shirt, and finisher mug.

For the 5km Conquer Challenge OCR, the fee is PhP 2,300 in the open category and PhP 2,500 in the elite category. Both will include a race shirt, timing chip, finisher shirt, and a finisher medal.

For the Ninja OCR, the fee is PhP 2,000 for the 100m individual race, with the 400m team race (two men and two women) having a PhP 3,000 fee per team. Both will include a finisher shirt and finisher medal.

For further details, one can check out Conquer Challenge Philippines' Facebook page, with race registration possible via RaceYaya.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Nazareth-NU stomps their way to NBTC Fantastic 8

National U's Terrence Fortea vs Calayan Education Foundation-Lucena in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Supreme 16
Another win, another impressive blowout.

Fresh from a 90-point demolition of Isabela Colleges-Cauayan, Nazareth-NU dispatched Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc. to earn a spot in the Fantastic 8 at the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM, 120-56.

The Bullpups were unstoppable against their Quezon-based opposition, never trailing in their matchup and overwhelming their opposition in transition, 28-2, as they head into the quarterfinals against MMBL runners-up Letran on Thursday.

Terrence Fortea torched the nets with 28 points on seven makes from beyond the arc, along with four assists and three rebounds, while Gerry Abadiano added fifteen points and four assists.

Nazareth-NU head coach Goldwin Monteverde shares, "Right after UAAP, huminto kami for a while. So good for us na going towards next games namin, maganda tinatakbo namin in the first two games."

Last year's runner-up also stamped its class in its Supreme 16 matchup, as La Salle-Greenhills defeated Camp David, 102-80

RC Calimag led the Greenies with 21 points, with Inand Fornilos adding fifteen points and ten rebounds to help lead LSGH to their third straight quarterfinal berth. Reimar Cruz led the Kiwis with a 21-5-5.

Newcomers Top Flight Hoops earned a Fantastic 8 slot with an 83-81 squeaker over Southwestern University-PHINMA.

Jerric Palma led the Vancouver-based team with 22 points, while Kit Miramor added nineteen and seven rebounds.

Harvey Sanchez led the Baby Cobras with sixteen points, five rebounds, and four assists.

In Division II action at the Palm Coast Marina, Lyceum-Cavite eased past Perpetual-Laguna, 80-69 to earn one of the quarterfinal spots.

The Junior Pirates relied on the duo of John Barba and Mac Guadana, combining for forty points and fourteen rebounds in the victory.

Other results saw St. Louis School of Don Bosco down the University of Baguio, 75-60, while Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy needed overtime to defeat Isabela Colleges-Cauayan, 83-80.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Fans can still take advantage of the free admission, as one just needs to present a valid ID to enter the venue.

Letran, Durham Crossover secure Fantastic 8 berths in NBTC

Letran's John Tabajen vs Hope Christian in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Supreme 16
Early tickets have been issued for the Fantastic 8 of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM, with Letran and Durham Crossover being the early beneficiaries.

The Squires kicked off Day three action with a come-from-behind 60-57 win over Hope Christian High School. John Tabajen took charge in helping Letran overcome a 12-point halftime deficit with his twelve points and twelve rebounds. His putback late helped secure the Supreme 16 victory.

Andrei Romenez led Letran in scoring with fourteen points, with CJ Saure (thirteen points and twelve rebounds) and Shawn Umali (ten points and sixteen rebounds) also grabbing double-doubles in the victory.

Harvey Pagsanjan led Hope Christian with nineteen points and five rebounds, but he sat out the final three minutes after getting called for his second unsportsmanlike foul.

Meanwhile, Durham Crossover finally breaks through to the Fantastic 8 after ending Sta. Clarita International School's Cinderella run, 109-75.

Tyler Garcia led the Toronto-based team with 32 points, while Marc Casilla added seventeen points and seven rebounds.

At the Palm Coast Marina, the quest to secure spots in the Div II Fantastic 8 also went underway, with Sto. Domingo National High School and First City Providential College earning the first couple of spots.

SDNHS of Legazpi defeated Narvacan National High School, 72-62, with Medwin Ariate scoring seventeen points, while John Nagar added sixteen markers and JD Areno contributing fifteen points and nine rebounds.

FCPC dispatched NBTC-Cebu runners-up University of San Jose-Recoletos, 75-50. Neil Moralejo led the Royal Eaglets with nineteen points, seven assists, and six rebounds. John Bravo followed up his 42-point performance with a 12-point and 16-rebound double-double, while adding three assists. Theo Pablico added fifteen markers.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events. Admission is free with a valid ID.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Early Supreme 16 berths handed out at NBTC National Finals

Toronto's Denzel Faraon vs Bulacan in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Super 32
Durham Crossover survived a historic output from John Bravo to dispatch First City Providential College to earn the first spot in the Supreme 16 at the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Bravo uncorked 42 points for the Royal Eaglets, but the school from Bulacan fell to their guest squad opposition, 85-82. The 42 is the second-highest scoring mark in the history of the tournament, following Jalen Green's 51-point outburst last year.

About Bravo, Durham head coach Mike Cruz shares, "Well, merong very special player, yung Bravo pati yung number 10 nila, yung Theo Pablico, para silang Batman and Robin." He adds, "Nag-adjust kami kay Pablico nung third quarter at hinintay namin mapagod yung Bravo. Last two minutes, dun kami nakalamang after nung i-shut down namin yung Bravo."

FCPC would take an early 10-point lead through the efforts of Bravo and Pablico, but the Toronto-based team would make the necessary adjustments to take their own 10-point lead heading into the final period. FCPC would bounce back themselves to tie the game late, but a Jason Diaz triple allowed Durham some breathing room before baskets from Denzel Faraon and Joshua Samonte providing the necessary insurance.

Faraon would finish with 24 points, ten rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Diaz added sixteen points, nine rebounds, a couple of assists, a couple of steals, and a key rejection.

Camp David earned a spot in the Supreme 16 for the first in their three-year history of participating in the NBTC, escaping with an 80-77 victory over St. Louis of Don Bosco.

The Kiwi led by as large as 21 before the Greywolves manage to cut that deficit down to as low as three points. They had a chance to potentiall tie the game late, but Thomas Pou forced a turnover and Camp David would run out the clock

The 8-man side relied once again on Reimar Cruz's scoring, as he poured 26 points, along with five rebounds and six assists. Mason Amos added a near-double-double with fifteen points and nine rebounds.

Icy Patrocino led SLDB with 21 points and eight rebounds.

At Palm Coast Marina, Hope Christian High School advanced to the Supreme 16 with a 71-50 win over Sto. Domingo National High School.

Harvey Pagsanjan stepped up for the Soldiers with 22 points, while JD Areno led the Legazpi Regional Champions with twelve points and eighteen rebounds, while adding an assist, a couple of steals, and a block.

Also advancing to the Supreme 16 are Top Flight Hoops, after they dispatched St. Mary's College of Tagum, 72-68. The Vancouver-based squad was led by Kit Mramot and his 21 points and twelve rebounds, as well as a couple of assists and steals. Jerric Palma added fifteen points as the only other player in double figures.

Nazareth-NU opens NBTC title defense in impressive fashion

National U's Terrence Fortea vs Cauayan in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Super 32
Defending champions Nazareth-NU stamped its class at the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM, dispatching their Super 32 opponent Isabela Colleges-Cauayan by ninety points, 135-45.

The Bullpups torched IC-C with a 37-4 run in the first quarter, then allowed the lead to balloon to a fifty-point lead at 62-12. They then continued to push that lead to go as high as 93 points, while allowing Goldwin Monteverde to shuffle up his lineups.

Terrence Fortea led the charge with nineteen points, while Steve Nash Enriquez added seventeen markers on 7/10 shooting.

Monteverde shared after the win, "Actually, nag-usap na kami before the game how to be consistent sa ginagawa namin. We had a great campaign in the UAAP and nag-pick up din kami sa tinatakbo namin."

Also impressing in the Super 32 is FilAm Sports USA, as they dispatched Perpetual Help System Laguna, 86-55.

Kainoa Ballungay pounded the opposition with another 20-10 performance thanks to his 24 points and eleven rebounds. He scored eleven of those points in the first quarter to anchor the early charge for the Bong Ulep-coached squad.

Jeron Artest added twelve points, ten rebounds, and six assists, while Jalen Green chipped in eleven points and four assists. 

Far Eastern University rode on the shoulders of RJ Abarrientos to escape with a 90-86 victory over St. Augustine's Institute.

Trailing by as large as twelve points in the third quarter, 57-69, the Baby Tamaraws rode on their sharpshooter to anchor the comeback in the fourth. Abarrientos dropped sixteen in the final period to help overcome the deficit.

In concurrent action held at the Palm Coast Marina, Vance Caterbas' buzzer-beating putback allows Southern Philippine Colleges to escape with 69-67 win over AusPinoy. Another overseas-based team also got bounced out with Quezon's Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc dispatching Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy, 69-63.

NCAA champions Mapua/Malayan survived a game effort from Zamboanga del Sur National High School, 54-46.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten, It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Admission to the games at the Mall of Asia Arena is free. Just present your valid ID.

Strong start for Jalen Green, FilAm Sports at NBTC Nationals

Fil-Am phenom Jalen Green of FilAm Sports USA vs AusPinoy in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Seeding Round
The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM concluded on Monday with four more matches in the Seeding Round, with all matchups involving the overseas teams at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The most notable match saw Jalen Green fulfill the expectations being held for a guy ranked second in ESPN's 2020 recruiting rankings.

Green finished with twenty points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block to lead FilAm Sports USA to a 78-45 win over AusPinoy.

Eli Ramos scored ten of his fourteen points in the first quarter, while Kainoa Ballungay bullied his way to a double-double with nineteen points, twelve rebounds, an assist, a steal, and three rejections.

FilAm Sports USA asserted themselves on the defensive end to claim the 13th seed, holding the Fil-Australians to single digit scoring in the first two quarters. Green then took over in the third quarter with a ten-point outburst, on the way to claiming the 12th seed and a matchup against Perpetual-Laguna.

Head coach Bong Ulep shares, "Ngayon lang sila maglalaro as a team from different states in the US kaya I’m glad na we won. Medyo nung first half, 'di masyado makita yung chemistry. Sloppy ball game, as expected, pero nung second half, nag-pick up naman. Medyo umayos nang konti."

Jasper Rentoy led AusPinoy with nineteen points, six rebounds, a couple of assists and a couple of steals. As the 13th seed, they face Southern Philippines College - Cagayan de Oro.

In the closest game of the day involving the overseas teams, Durham Crossover hung on to defeat Far Eastern University, 69-66.

The Baby Tamaraws played their younger guys in this matchup against the Toronto-based unit, with an eye towards preparations for the 82nd Season of the UAAP. With nothing at stake save for seeding, top high school standout RJ Abarrientos was held out of the game. Even as such, they had a couple of chances to force overtime, but they were unable to convert a couple of triples from the right side.

Bryan Sajonia led FEU with nineteen points, four rebounds, and a couple of assists. Slotted as the 15th seed, they will face Floridablanca's St. Augustine Institute in the Super 32.

Durham Crossover rode on Denzel Faraon, Tayler Garcia, and Brendon Ocampo, who each chipped in fourteen points. The win slots them in as the tenth seed, and the matchup against late addition First City Providential Colleges of Bulacan.

Making it an unsuccessful NBTC are both Top Flight Hoops and Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy.

The latter lost to Hope Christian High School, 68-59, with Harvey Pagsanjan contributing 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Hope used a strong second quarter to overcome a sluggish first, scoring 23 points in the period while limiting Italy to just ten points. The ninth seeds now face Sto. Domingo National High School of Legazpi in the Super 32.

Renz Tubera led the way for Italy with a game-high 23 points, as they are now slotted as the 16th seeds and face Calayan Educational Foundation of Quezon.

The former, on the other hand, bowed to Camp David, 84-71, in the final game of the day.

With an undermanned lineup, the Kiwis rode on the performance of Reimar Cruz and his 26 points and eleven rebounds. As the 11th seed, they would face Dumaguete's St. Louis of Don Bosco in the Super 32.

The Vancouver-based Top Flight Hoops were led by Jerric Palma and his 23 points. They will face Tagum's Saint Mary's College as the 14th seeds.

Super 32 action commences Tuesday with matches at both the Mall of Asia Arena and at the Palm Coast Marina.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is alsopresented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Regional Champions clash in NBTC Seeding Round

Lyceum-Cavite star Mac Guadana vs Holy Trinity-GenSan in the 2019 NBTC Nationals Seeding Round
The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC kicked off its Seeding Round with a quartet of matches involving different Regional Champions at the Mall of Asia Arena, with Lyceum-Cavite, University of Baguio, Narvacan National High School, and Sta. Clarita International School coming out winners.

The Junior Pirates started off action by escaping with a 74-71 win over Holy Trinity College (General Santos), as the duo of Mac Guadana and John Barba combined to score 47 points in the win.

The former uncorked 24 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals, while the latter contributed 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

Lyceum-Cavite withstood a torrid fourth quarter from the Wildcats, which were led by McTrol Crisostomo pouring in all seventeen of his points in the final ten minutes.

Barba scored in the final ten seconds of the game to give Lyceum-Cavite the lead, and although HTC had a chance to retake it, but Kyle Buen's floater fell short. Jae Omandac would then convert free throws to seal the win and the 28th seed. They face Ateneo in the Super 32.

Ednor Akad contributed a double-double with fourteen points, thirteen rebounds and a block in the loss, which pegs them as the 29th seed. They face San Beda in the Super 32.

The second game scheduled saw the University of Baguio dispatch Dolores National High School (Eastern Samar), 68-56.

UB used a strong third quarter to establish a 51-37 lead after trailing at the half, 28-25. Ivan Fontanilla poured ten points in the period to outscore DNHS, who could only muster nine by themselves. They would extend that lead further in the final period to put the game beyond reach.

Cyril de Vera top scored for UB with fifteen points, while adding a couple of rebounds and assists. Magnus Ines fell a rebound short of a double-double with his fourteen points and nine rebounds. He also added a couple of assists and a block to help them secure the 27th seed and a matchup against La Salle-Greenhills in the Super 32.

Robert Norombaba was the only one from DNHS to reach double figures with thirteen points, two rebounds, two assists, and a couple of steals. As the 30th seed, they face Southwestern University-PHINMA in the Super 32.

The third matchup of the day saw Narvacan National High School (Candon) stun Isabela Colleges-Cauayan, 80-74.

NNHS overcame a 12-point deficit to pull off the win, riding on the shoulders of Paulo Casia to complete the comeback, as he scored a couple of fastbreak layups off IC-C turnovers, the last one with 27 seconds left.

Casia finished with 31 points, fourteen rebounds, an assist, three steals, and a couple of blocks. 23 points came in the second half for the Ilocano school. Vincent Saldua added 22 points, five rebounds, six assists, and a steal in securing the 25th seed. They face Letran in the Super 32.

JD Palejo and Chris Rios each scored fourteen points to lead IC-C, which puts them as the 32nd seed and the task of being the first team Nazareth-NU faces in their NBTC title defense. They also could be undermanned as they lost Mark Tagacay to injury during the game.

The final matchup of regional champions saw a wild finish from Sta. Clarita International School (Iloilo), as they overcame a 17-point deficit to snatch a 99-88 victory over Zamboanga del Sur National High School.

SCIS seemed inspired by the fourth-quarter ejection of their Paul Fallarco after he committed a disqualifying foul, as they ended a game on a 18-2 run. The Ilonggos pounced on their opposition's inability to move the ball past halfcourt, converting on their steals to fastbreak layups. The duo of Steven Tono and Jemar Cepriano combined to score 17 points in the final period to tow them home with the win, outscoring the Pagadian regional champions themselves by a point in the final ten minutes.

Ralph Bajon led all scorers with 33 points, while adding a couple of rebounds and three steals. Tono would finish with nineteen points, four rebounds, an assist, and three steals, while Cepriano contributed seventeen points, seven rebounds, a steal, and three blocks, as they secured the 26th seed and the right to face the University of San Jose-Recoletos in the Super 32.

Ken Pondoc led Zamboanga del Sur National High School with a near double-double performance with 22 points, nine rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Jv Maghinay added sixteen points and ten rebounds as they are designated as the 31st seed and the opponent of Mapua/Malayan in the Super 32.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten, and also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

All games will be streamed live on the NBTC's Facebook page, with the semifinals, finals, and the All-Star Game to be shown on 5Plus.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Free entrance for NBTC National Finals

Carl Tamayo helping lead Nazareth-NU to the NBTC National Finals title last year
Fans have all the reason to check out the de facto top HS tournament in the country at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The NBTC announced Sunday that the entire 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is going to be free admission.

All those interested to watch the matches, starting with the Seeding Round tomorrow until the Final on March 24 just need to present a valid ID and they can get their free ticket. If one is unable to watch it in-person at the MOA Arena, the NBTC's Facebook page will be streaming the matches starting tomorrow. In addition, the semifinals, finals, and the All-Star Game will be televised on 5Plus.

32 teams are involved, with half of them playing in the Seeding Round, including all six overseas-based squads. Once that is settled, knockout rounds can commence on Tuesday.

The NBTC also on Sunday revealed the schedule for said round, with matches starting at 8am and ending twelve hours later. The complete schedule can be seen below:

8am Holy Trinity College (General Santos) - Lyceum-Cavite (28/29th seed)
930am University of Baguio - Dolores National High School (Eastern Samar) (27/30th seed)
11am Narvacan National High School (Candon) - Isabela Colleges-Cauayan (25/32nd seed)
1230pm Sta. Clarita International School (Iloilo) - Zamboanga del Sur National High School (26/31st seed)

2pm Far Eastern University - Durham Crossover (Canada) (10/15th seed)
330pm Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy - Hope Christian High School (9/16th seed)
5pm FilAm Sports USA - AusPinoy (Australia) 12/13th seed
630pm Top Flight Hoops Vancouver - Camp David (New Zealand) (11/14th seed)

Defending champions Nazareth-NU are the top seeds in the National Finals and will play on Tuesday in the Super 32. The Bullpups are seeking to be first squad to successfully defend the NBTC title in its 12-year history, and with the quartet of Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, and Kevin Quiambao, they have what it takes to pull off such a feat.

Potential obstacles for Nazareth-NU's title defense includes the team they beat in the recently-concluded UAAP HS finals, Ateneo de Manila, who have the NBTC's top HS school player in the country in Kai Sotto. Other threats include the NCAA HS champions Mapua/Malayan, NBTC Cebu champions Southwestern University-PHINMA, and the team the Bullpups beat for the NBTC title last year, La Salle-Greenhills.

FilAm Sports USA is perceived as the top overseas threat in the NBTC, as they are led by Jalen Green, the 2nd ranked player in ESPN 2020 HS rankings. Backstopping Green are Jeron Artest and Eli Ramos.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten, and also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Doria, Ynot picked as NBTC All-Star injury replacements


The NBTC announced a couple of replacements for their injured players that will force them to the sidelines of the NBTC All-Star Game on March 24.

Team Heart's team captain Joel Cagulangan has an ankle issue that will force the La Salle Greenhills standout to miss the game, while Clint Escamis of Team Hustle is still recovering from surgery that addressed his ACL injury on the right knee of the Mapua/Malayan guard.

Named as Cagulangan's replacement is Adam Doria. The incoming Adamson Soaring Falcon averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Baby Falcons, and helped them reach the UAAP HS Final Four. He joins Carl Tamayo of Nazareth-NU, Inand Fornilos and Joshua David of La Salle-Greenhills, Harvey Pagsanjan for Hope Christian HS, Aaron Fermin of Arellano, Paolo Hernandez and Dan Arches for Mapua/Malayan, Joshua Yerro of the University of Visayas, Mac Guadana of Lyceum, Rafael Go of Chiang Kai Shek, and Joem Sabandal of Adamson, with Charles Tiu serving as Team Heart's head coach.

Named as Escamis' replacement is Tony Ynot. The San Beda guard averaged 7.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in his debut season for the Red Cubs. He joins captain Kai Sotto and his fellow Ateneans Geo Chiu and Forthsky Padrigao, Mark Nonoy and Bismarck Lina of UST, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, and Kevin Quiambao of Nazareth-NU, RJ Abarrientos of Far Eastern University, John Amores of JRU, and Jonnel Policarpio of Mapua/Malayan, with Chris Gavina serving as their head coach.

This game, alongside the semifinals and finals of the NBTC National Finals, will be shown on 5Plus, with all the other games being shown online via ESPN5.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go National Finals presented by SM is sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten, as well as ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Six international teams add spice to NBTC

Camp David and Durham Crossover
Just it has been for the past couple of years, the NBTC National Finals has featured overseas-based squads, and the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM will not be different. In fact, the field has expanded.

Six squads from abroad will be ready to impress when the seeding round commences tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena, led by a returning top-ranked recruit in the 2020 class.

Jalen Green is leading the cast that FilAm Sports USA is fielding for this competition, making a return trip after impressing last year. The guard from Fresno set the NBTC record with his 51-point outburst last year and his dunk over Kai Sotto in the NBTC All-Star Game went viral. Green is currently the 2nd ranked player in ESPN's recruiting ranking for 2020. He has offers from 18 Div I schools, including five of the Pac-12 schools, and bluebloods Kansas and Kentucky.

Green will be alongside a couple of notable ballers hoping to impress not only scouts in the country but also back home. Joining him are fellow returnees Brandon Wilson and Boogie Ellis.

Jeron Artest, the son of former NBA defensive stalwart Metta World Peace, and Eli Ramos, the brother of Cal Poly-Pomona wingman Dwight Ramos, will also be helping Green make an impact for the Bong Ulep-coached side.

The 6'4 Artest plays point guard has an standing offer from the University of Wyoming, with interest from Baylor, Butler, California-Berkeley, and Nevada, according 247Sports. Meanwhile, the 6'3 Ramos plays guard is averaging 17.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.5 steals for Walnut High School in California.

Toronto's Durham Crossover also returns to NBTC play, with the core of Tyler Garcia, Denzel Faraon, Jason Diaz, and Josh Samonte making plays for coach Mike Cruz, while AusPinoy Australia will be riding on Jasper Rentoy. New Zealand's Camp David is also making their presence felt.

Completing the cast are two new squads. Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy will be bolstered by FEU's Chiolo Anonuevo, who averaged 5.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and nearly a block for the Baby Tamaraws this past season. Canada will have a second team in the NBTC National Finals with newcomer Top Flight Hoops Vancouver.

All six teams will playing in the Seeding Round, with four of them facing each other and the other two going up against the at-large teams picked by the Selection Committee.

The winner of the Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy against Hope Christian HS will be the 9th seed while the loser takes the 16th seed.

The winner of FEU-Diliman against Durham Crossover will be the 10th seed and the loser takes the 15th seed.

The winner of the Top Flight Hoops against Camp David will be the 11th seed and the loser takes the 14th seed.

The winner of the Filam Sports USA against AusPinoy will be the 12th seed and the loser takes the 13th seed.

The acutal knockout rounds will take place starting Tuesday with the Super 32. All matches, including the seeding round will be streamed online via ESPN5, with the semifinals, finals, and the All-Star Game to be shown on 5Plus.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 NBTC National Finals Seeding Round matchups bared

It starts on Monday with the Seeding Round

The matchups for the opening day of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go National Finals presented by SM have been determined.

The format for the National Finals from last year is being retained for this year, with a seeding round to determine the final matchups for the Super 32, which commences the next day.

The top 8 seeds are already confirmed, with the finalists in the UAAP, NCAA, the NBTC Cebu Regionals, and the MMBL having locked that up as follows:

1. Defending Champions and UAAP champions Nazareth-NU
2. NCAA Champions Mapua/Malayan
3. NBTC Cebu Champions Southwestern University-PHINMA
4. MMBL Champions San Beda
5. UAAP Finalists Ateneo de Manila
6. NCAA Finalists La Salle-Greenhills
7. NBTC Cebu finalists University of San Jose-Recoletos
8. MMBL Finalists Letran

In addition, seeds 17-24 have also been locked up for these regional champions

17. Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc.
18. St. Augustine Institute of Pampanga
19. Southern Philippines College - Cagayan de Oro
20. St. Mary's College of Tagum
21. University of Perpetual Help System - Laguna (also known as Perpetual - JONELTA)
22. St. Louis of Don Bosco - Dumaguete
23. STI-West Negros University
24. Sto. Domingo National HS of Legazpi

The identity of the remaining seeds will be played out through a seeding round, after the NBTC held the lottery for the Seeding Round matchups.

The winner of each matchup gets the higher seed, while the loser gets the lower seed.

9/16: Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy vs Hope Christian
10/15: FEU-Diliman vs Durham Crossover Canada
11/14: Top Flight Hoops Vancouver vs Camp David (NZ)
12/13: Filam Sports USA vs AusPinoy (Australia)
25/32: Narvacan National HS vs Isabela Colleges - Cauayan
26/31: Sta. Clarita International School (Iloilo) vs Zamboanga del Sur National HS
27/30: University of Baguio vs Dolores National HS (Eastern Samar)
28/29: Holy Trinity College (General Santos) vs Lyceum-Cavite

As of this posting, no schedule has yet to be released to determine which matchup plays at what time.

The actual win-or-go-home matches will take place starting Tuesday, March 19, until the champion has been determined on March 24. All matches will be at the Mall of Asia Arena, and will be streamed online via ESPN5, with the semifinals, finals, and the NBTC All-Star Game getting the televised treatment on 5Plus.

The 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by 5 Plus and Lighthouse Events.

The FIBA World Cup 2019 Draw Procedure

Pot Session.

FIBA on Friday revealed how the World Cup Draw Procedure will take place, the first one involving 32 teams.

To determine the pots, FIBA rankings were used to sort the field, with one exception, as Canada and Iran swapped pots to ensure proper regional distribution of the teams. In addition, hosts China have been allocated a spot in Pot 1, and has been designated to Group A, which is based in Beijing. The LOC has also made the decision to designate the United States, which is also in Pot 1 to Group E, which is based in Shanghai.

The Philippines has been drawn into Pot 6, alongside Canada, Montenegro, and Korea.

The Pots are as follows:

To be drawn into either Group A (Beijing), C (Guangzhou), E (Shanghai), G (Shenzhen):

Pot 1: China, United States, Spain, France (China in Group A. United States in Group E)
Pot 4: Puerto Rico, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Venezuela (Turkey already automatically drawn into Group E as other three nations cannot be in same group as the United States)
Pot 5: Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Iran (Iran cannot be in same group alongside China)
Pot 8: Japan, Jordan, Tunisia, Cote d'Ivoire (Japan and Jordan cannot be in a group alongside Iran or China)

To be drawn into either Group B (Wuhan), D (Foshan), F (Nanjing), H (Dongguan):

Pot 2: Serbia, Argentina, Lithuania, Greece
Pot 3: Russia, Australia, Brazil, Italy (Brazil cannot be in same group alongside Argentina)
Pot 6: Canada, Montenegro, Pilipinas, Korea (Philippines and Korea cannot be in same group alongside Australia)
Pot 7: Nigeria, Senegal, New Zealand, Angola (New Zealand cannot be in same group alongside Australia, Philippines, or Korea)

After determine which group it will be designated to, the draw will also indicate which position it will occupy in the group, in order to determine the order of matches.

In case you have difficutly trying to figure it out, FIBA put this on their Youtube account:

The draw is scheduled later today, with ESPN5 showing the festivities starting at 7pm on TV5.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mindanao quartet seeking NBTC breakthrough

Zamboanga del Sur National High School, 2019 NBTC League Nationals qualifier
A quartet of schools have been given the responsibility as Mindanao's pride in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM.

Surviving their respective regionals are Southern Philippine Colleges of Cagayan de Oro, St. Mary's College of Tagum, Holy Trinity College of General Santos, and Zamboana del Sur National High School of Pagadian. The former two have been given an automatic seeding slot (SPC as 19th seed and SMC as 20th seed), while the latter two will play in the opening seeding round.

SPC, led by 6'2 swingman Jericho Montecalvo, is the most notable of the bunch, as they managed to take down former NBTC Div II champions Assumption Montessori in their road to the National Finals.

In addition, HTC has had experience playing in Manila thanks to their brief stint in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament earlier this decade.

Taking place from March 18-24 at the Mall of Asia Arena, the Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM is also sponsored by Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, and Molten. It is also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

The games will be streamed LIVE via ESPN5's social media footprint, with the semifinals, finals, and All-Star Game getting the televised treatment.

Baby Cobras, Baby Jaguars lead Visayan NBTC National Finals contingent

This year's NBTC Cebu champions, Southwestern University-PHINMA Baby Cobras
Six schools comprise the Visayan contigent of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM, led by a couple of CESAFI standouts making history.

Southwestern University-PHINMA topped the NBTC Cebu regional, defeating the University of San Jose-Recoletos in the final that saw both the Baby Cobras and the Baby Jaguars advance to the National Finals, making it the first time neither last year's NBTC Cebu champions University of Visayas nor 2015 NBTC Finals champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu made the tournament. The former got bounced out in the eliminations while the latter lost in the semifinals.

SWU-PHINMA is backstopped by Kent Sanchez and Kendall Limana, while the latter rode on Elmer Echavez's do-it-all shoulders to make the trip to Manila. Both schools received top-8 seeding when the NBTC released its Super 32 field earlier this week.

Topping their respective regionals and completing Visayan pride in the NBTC are Sta. Clarita International School (Iloilo), STI-West Negros University (Bacolod), St. Louis School of Don Bosco (Dumaguete), and Dolores National High School (Eastern Samar).

The National Finals will take place from March 18-24 at the Mall of Asia Arena, and sponsored by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Purefoods, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, and Molten, and also presented by ESPN5 and Lighthouse Events.

Games will be streamed on line via ESPN5's social media, with the semifinals and finals, as well as the All-Star Game getting the televised treatment via 5Plus.

Eight plucked from Jr. NBA's South Luzon Regional Selection Camp

A sample of what took place at the Lucena Regional Selection Camp
The Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 Program presented by Alaska this past weekend found its first set of participants to the National Training Camp, as it discovered eight outstanding ballers from its first Regional Selection Camp this year.

Taking place at the Manuel Enverga University Foundation in the city of Lucena, four boys and four girls out of the nearly a thousand youngsters were selected by the coaches who ran the March 9-10 camp. It was the second time Lucena hosted a RSC in the history of the program. They showed off their proficiency in fundamental skills as well as reflected the core values that serve as its ethos.

A couple of boys from Lucena's International School for Better Beginnings (13-year-old Frince Oliver Bueza and 14-year-old Ivan Rhoss Rosales) and La Salle-Lipa (13-year-old Karl Yuan Llanes and 14-year-old Lionel Matthew Rubico) got the nod.

For the girls, 14-year-old Nicole Rosaldo of Lucena's Maryhill College joined 13-year-olds Krizza Mae Belen of Mauban's Dr. Mariah D. Pastrana National High School, Tiffany Jolie Lacsamana of Palawan State University Laboratory Elementary School, and Karylle Sierba of Mauban's Manuel S. Enverga Memorial School of Arts and Trades to complete the quartet selected.

The Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Selection Camp finalists who will represent South Luzon at the National Training Camp in May are (L-R): Karl Yuan Llanes, Frince Oliver Bueza, Nicole Rosaldo, Tiffany Jolie Lacsamana, Krizia Mae Bellen, Ivan Rhoss Rosales, and Lionel Matthew Rubico. (Not in photo: Karylle Sierba). Also in photo are Jr. NBA and Alaska coaches (L-R): Andrea Stevens, Kalvin Sangalang, Ewon Arayi, Louie Gonzales, Eric dela Cuesta, Tony dela Cruz, Carlos Barroca, and Willie Miller.
Four more Regional Selection Camps and the Alaska Power Camp will be held to determine the rest of the forty boys and forty girls that will comprise the National Training Camp field, which is scheduled to take place on May 17-19 at the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati.  The RSCs will take place in Baguio on March 23-24, Dumaguete on March 30-31, Butuan on April 13-14, and Metro Manila on April 27-28.

Outstanding participants in the NTC will comprise this year's edition of the Jr. NBA / Jr. WNBA All-Stars, a selection that will then be fine-tuned in the first Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific Qualifiers this coming June against their counterparts in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is from that Qualifiers that will determine the Asia-Pacific team that will take part in the second edition of the Jr. NBA World Championships, which takes place on August 6-11 at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex inside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Asia-Pacific selection will face off against their counterparts from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, China, Mexico, Africa, and India.

Interested participants can check out for more details on the official global youth basketball participation program of the NBA.

Also supporting the Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 presented by Alaska are its official partners AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona, and Vivo, with its official broadcasters, ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV, and NBA Premium.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Finding a Sisterhood in a Sport Dominated by Men

ICA Girls Football team
In a sport largely identified with men, a team of young girls from the Immaculate Concepcion Academy (ICA) has formed a sisterhood that goes beyond winning games.

The ICA team has been training under the Xavier Football Club every Wednesday, Saturday, and, if needed, on Sunday as well. Their school doesn’t have a field, but that didn’t stop these girls—whose ages range from 11 to 16 years old—from pursuing the sport they love.

While they got into football in different ways—some had family members who were already in the sport while others were enrolled by their moms—the girls share the same passion for it.

“When I started football, I just fell in love with it,” says 15-year-old Traci Lim.

Getting into the sport wasn’t as easy though. It’s not that the girls didn’t have the skill to stand out. Far from it. It’s more because football is still not seen by some people as a sport that women can excel at.

“I think we've all had our fair share of experiences but one that has affected me is when my teacher asked me what sport I played and when I said football, she asked, ‘Isn’t that a man’s sport?’ I didn't see it as an insult; I used it as an inspiration to prove her wrong and do better,” goalkeeper Darryle Tangco shares.

Teammate Iya Pantoja adds: “There are times where some people look down on women who play football like they think we don't have the capability or skill, but there's always that time, at the end of the day, where you can prove that you have the set of skills and you have the heart to compete and play in the sport.”

Like many young football players, Iya dreams of making it to the national team. “That would be really nice, to be able to play on the national team, but my main goal would be to get a scholarship through football, so I can get in to a good school and become a doctor,” she says.

Iya, along with her sister Adrianna, are members of the ICA team.

“We were toddlers when we already started playing football. And then, we tried a bunch of other sports but then; we think football was the one we stayed longest in. I didn’t see why a girl couldn’t play the sport?” Adrianna quips.

Their mother, Bernadette, who was a student athlete back in the day, is the one who encouraged her daughters to get into sports. “Having played football back in college, I am so glad that I now get to share the experience with my daughters. Football is a tie that binds our family. I will never trade the countless weekends spent under the sun watching them play. For as long as they are willing, I will never grow tired of cheering for them. I will always be proud to be called a soccer mom,” she shares.

“We can’t deny that it’s present, but we try to address it through the help of our parents, associations, and coaches. We see that they want us to do what we love, and they’re here to support us,” says Alexa Maclang.

The team has even found a staunch supporter in Allianz, a global insurance company that runs one of the most successful international football camps through a partnership with FC Bayern Munich. One of the pillars of the company’s corporate social responsibility program is social inclusion, which it tackles through sports and sustainability projects. With a company such as Allianz on their side, it was enough to boost the morale of the girls.

Dealing with discrimination is just one of the lessons that the girls have learned from playing football.

“I also learned self-discipline, perseverance, hard work, and balance. These things are important even when you’re outside of the field,” says Iya.

They have learned the value of reliability.

“For example, when you’re running on the field for 45 minutes and you just want to stop because you’re tired, you can’t just do that. Your team needs you,” Iya adds.

Her mom, Bernadette, points out, “The discipline, dedication, commitment and perseverance  learned through this sport will continue to teach them to become more well rounded, relational, agile, determined and strong.  These things are important aspects they need to learn to succeed in life.”

For 13-year-old Daniella Benitez, it’s communicating with others. It can really be quite challenging, given that the girls are of different ages.

“Sometimes, you just have to talk it out,” co-captain Anya Fuentes says of how they resolve conflicts.

“There are times that you have to be the bigger person. Since I’m one of the oldest in the team, I have to be the ate to mediate when there’s a conflict,” she says.

As with real sisters, after all, misunderstandings do happen.

“We would sometimes disagree on some stuff. As a team, we won’t always be in sync. Everybody would have their own opinion. But we always find a way to work together,” Alexa says.

In overcoming both the physical and emotional challenges that come with a sport, the girls are blessed to have the staunch support of their family, especially their mothers. Strong women on their own, these “soccer moms” guide their young daughters not just in excelling in the sport that they love most, but in maintaining a life outside of the field as well.

“I always tell Alexa that in life, you should have a balance. You should always know when to do things at the right time,” Laura Maclang says.

She, like the other moms, are glad that their girls have found a sport that they don’t just love but can learn a lot from as well.

“It has helped develop her communication skills, which is very important during the formative years,” she says.

Traci’s mom, Ting Lim, noticed that her daughter has learned to manage time and become more disciplined and responsible. She was the first to bring the kids together, nurturing the girls’ love for the game by making sure they train regularly.

For the case of Traci, she was lucky to be selected, to be part of a national team training camp. From there, she learned how to manage her time. She became disciplined. She became more responsible.

Laura takes pride in the fact that in playing the sport, the girls have learned to look out for each other.

“The team has unity. They take care of each other not only during their time on the field but outside of it as well,” she says.

Just as the girls pull each other up during challenging games, their moms are there to listen to their frustrations and guide them in overcoming them.

“We always tell her that no one bad performance defines you as a player. The important thing is you come back stronger,” Anya’s mom, Tecel Fuentes, says.

“That’s the beautiful thing about soccer, she adds. “Bilog ang bola.”

Soccer has likewise created a strong bond between mothers and daughters.

“I go anywhere, everywhere she goes during her training or tournaments here and abroad,” Ting says.

Laura adds: “Every time I see her win, I cry. It’s an amazing bond between kids and parents.”

Bernadette sums up the bond that their daughters not only share with their teammates, but with their families as well.

“Football is a tie that binds our family. I will never trade the countless weekends spent under the sun watching them play. For as long as they are willing, I will never grow tired of cheering for them. I will always be proud to be called a soccer mom,” she says.

By playing football, the ICA team has shown that playing sports transcends genders, creates friendships, instills discipline, and, more importantly, fosters strong family bonds.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

SBP praises UAAP for 3x3

UP's Juan Gomez de Liano in the recently concluded UAAP 3x3 competition
The recently-concluded UAAP 3x3 tournament got the attention of the national basketball federation of the Philippines.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Al Panlilio personally commended the league in helping the federation promote the sport, considered as the fastest-growing in the world.

Panlilio shares, "The alignment forged by the UAAP 3x3 organizers with the SBP is what we’ve been actively espousing. We are very pleased that the UAAP 3x3 with their 3x3 commissioner Xavier Nunag and SBP 3x3 program head Ronnie Magsanoc were able to establish a strong link and partnership that benefitted our country in our goal to generate as many points as possible."

He adds, "Remember that 3x3 is now an Olympic sport and that’s why I am calling on all independent 3x3 event organizers to align with coach Ronnie so that they can be guided accordingly on the correct formula in running their respective tournaments."

Magsanoc echoed the same sentiments. "On behalf of the SBP, we are grateful to the UAAP for helping the national program of the 3x3. Some of the best and brightest 3x3 players traced their roots in the UAAP," says the University of the Philippines alumnus.

He also adds, "Players like Ricci Rivero, Juan Gomez de Liano, Thirdy Ravena, Jack Animam of women’s basketball have represented the country playing for the national team. Looking forward to having the discipline as a part of the regular sports competition for Season 82." Magsanoc continues to hope that having a partnership with the league allows them a source to potential players to field in overseas tournaments.

On the league's end, Executive Director Rebo Saguisag thanked the SBP, the media, and the fans for the success of this season's 3x3 tournament. "This year’s iteration, may I say was a smashing success – so much so that we definitely need a bigger venue next year," he says.

The former league commissioner for basketball adds, "From the players, the media coverage and most importantly the fans, the UAAP Season 81 3x3 did not lack in star power. The UAAP is definitely looking at making 3x3 a regular event. For now, allow us to thank everyone for giving us a great time! See you in Season 82."

As for Nunag, he was grateful for the assistance the SBP provided for this tournament. He notes, "The UAAP 3x3, headed by the host Far Eastern University, does not only give the athletes an avenue and platform to play basketball and represent their respective schools. At the same time, along with the SBP, it has made a successful effort to help out the county’s bid to become one of the top countries in 3x3 basketball."

Held inside the Ayala Malls Feliz back in March 2 and 3, seven of the eight UAAP schools competed in the men's division that Ateneo de Manila topped, while all eight schools participated in the women's division that National University successfully defended.