Friday, February 24, 2023

CESAFI champions lead provincial field for NBTC

SHS-Ateneo de Cebu

A dozen provincial teams are set to make a claim to be the best high school team in the country when the 2023 SMART NBTC National Finals takes place this March 15-19 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Leading the cast is CESAFI champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, which won the title back in 2015 by defeating traditional high school juggernaut San Beda.

And with the decision to open the competition to not just school-based squads starting this year, teams like Pampanga Delta are taking advantage.

These two came out of their local qualifying tournaments to earn a spot in the National Finals, just like these teams: Team Tarlac (Central Luzon), University of Luzon (Baguio), Philippine Christian University-Dasmarinas (Cavite), Holy Trinity College-General Santos (Kidapawan), Saint Benilde International School-Calamba (Laguna), Level Up Max Ballers Davao (Northern Mindanao), Batang Tiaong (Quezon), Don Bosco Dumaguete (Visayas), and Doc Boleros (Caloocan/Quezon City).

One more team will complete the provincial cast when the Batangas champion will be crowned in March.

These twelve teams will have the chance to become the best and potentially deny a third straight title for Nazareth School of National University.

Once the field is officially set, these 24 teams will first be classified as to which teams will be in Division 1 and 2, with each division subdivided into four groups of three teams. The top teams of each group will advance into the semifinals where the two champions eventually will be crowned on March 19.

The final day will also feature the final of the inaugural Girls Have Next competition powered by Fil-Nation Select, as well as the Under Armour All-Star Game and its accompanying side events.

Free shuttle rides available for Gilas-Lebanon ticketholders

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is encouraging fans to be make themselves prevalent for today's 6pm FIBA World Cup Qualifying matchup against Lebanon.

With the match taking place at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, the federation has arranged for free shuttle rides emanating from SM Grand Central at Caloocan as well as SM North EDSA in Quezon City.

Shuttle rides start at 2pm on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who took advantage of the ride to the arena can also use it to head back to their origin.

If unable to make it to the venue, fans can still watch the game through Cignal's platforms, as well as SMART LiveStream.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

NBTC set for girls competition

The biggest grassroots basketball competition in the country is set to add a female element for the first time.

The tournament is set to have its first high school girls division, called the SMART-NBTC Girls Have Next, powered by Fil-Nation Select, which will run concurrently with their boys counterparts.

NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano shares, "Discovering great talents for the better part of the past 13 years, the NBTC is honored to share the spotlight with the ladies this year. We're excited to contribute to the rise of girls' basketball in the country through this grassroots tournament."

Pioneering coach Mau Belen was named as its tournament director, and she says about this competition, "I’m excited to be a part of a project that is close to my heart which will give opportunities to showcase young girls' talents. Because of the NBTC and Fil-Nation Select collaboration and support, we are giving a chance to these girls' dreams."

Eight squads have been picked to participate, led by powerhouse Nazareth School of National University. Also set to play is the University of Santo Tomas, the inaugural co-champions of the UAAP Girls Basketball competition back in 2020.

Completing the field are Miriam College, La Salle-Antipolo, and Queen Anne School-Sta. Rosa, as well as La Filipina Blue Fire and One Ibajay-Aklan. Fil-Nation Select is expected as well to send a squad.

These eight teams will be split into two groups of four, with each group to have a round robin to determine the top two teams that would clash in the crossover semifinals scheduled on March 17. Matches will be played at the Pretty HUGE facility in Taguig.

The winners will then face off to be the inaugural girls champion on the culminating day of the National Finals on March 19 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

FIFA Women’s World Cup Trophy set for Philippines visit

The FIFA Women's World Cup trophy

The Philippines will be one of the countries that will be a part of the biggest-ever FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy Tour.

Slated for March 1-2, the trophy makes its way to the country for the first time, appropriately with the Senior Women's National Team making its tournament debut later this year in New Zealand.

A public viewing is scheduled for the 1st of March, with the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati serving as the host venue from 3-6pm. A variety of activities are planned at that time to help celebrate the women's game, including mini-games, as well as the chance to have a photo with the trophy.

The Philippine Football Federation believes that having the trophy around will help boost the campaign of our Filipinas, as they continue their preparations towards an instant impact in the WWC.

"We are delighted to welcome the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy in Manila as the excitement
continues to build up for the Filipinas' debut in the most prestigious women’s football tournament in
the world. We invite all football fans and stakeholders to come and visit the trophy when it arrives here to see women's football’s biggest prize
," shares PFF president Mariano Araneta.

PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes adds, "We hope that the upcoming trophy tour would inspire Filipino football fans and players, particularly young women’s players nationwide. It is a unique moment for everyone to see the trophy which is only seen during the official draw and the final match of the Women’s World Cup."

Thursday, February 16, 2023

NBTC Finals set for March return

NBTC is back

The premier grassroots tournament in the Philippines is set to come back next month, with the 2023 edition of NBTC National Finals.

Slated for March 15-19 at the Mall of Asia Arena, the thirteenth iteration will feature 24 teams, with a combination of squads coming out of the classification tournaments both here in the country and abroad.

Classification matches will determine the composition of teams in Division 1 and 2, which will then be divided into three groups of four teams that will engage in round-robin action. Outstanding teams will advance to the knockout rounds, in order to determine the champion in each division.

Program Director Eric Altamirano shares, "Finally, after a three-year wait, the stage is set for young Filipino talent to shine again. We're very much excited for our tournament to prove that Philippine grassroots basketball is alive and well.

Although the international field is set, there are still qualification tournaments taking place. The tournament has now pivoted from its purely-school based origins to now include club teams for the first time this year.

Participants need to be born before January 1, 2004 and has to have Filipino ancestry.

NU-Nazareth claimed the Div 1 title with a 95-83 victory over La Salle-Greenhills. The Bullpups rode on the exploits of Carl Tamayo, Terrence Fortea, Gerry Abadiano, and Cyril Gonzales over the duo of Inand Fornilos and Joshua David.

St. Augustine Institute, based in Pampanga, claimed the Div 2 title over Lyceum-Cavite. The Central Luzon rode on the duo of Jiam Quiambao and Jolo Manansala to fend off Junior Pirates that was led by the dynamic duo of McLaude Guadana and John Barba.

Other notable participants that were a part of the last edition include Kai Ballungay and Jalen Green of FilAm Sports USA, Justine Sanchez, Yukien Andrada, Rhayyan Amsali and Tony Ynot of San Beda, RJ Abarrientos of FEU, Cholo Anonuevo of Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy, and 

Also set to make its return is the NBTC All-Star Game, involving Team Heart and Team Hustle, with the outstanding youth ballers to showcase their skills for the world against their peers.

In the run-up to the NBTC Finals, the NBTC 24 will also make its comeback as the rankings for the best high school players in the country, mostly comprised from those in the ongoing NCAA Season 98 and UAAP Season 85 tournaments, as well as from the recently-concluded CESAFI Season 22 tournament. The rankings will be determined by a group of select sportswriters covering the leagues.

NBTC Special Projects head Anton Altamirano shares, "We're happy to be continuing on the road we've been on since 2017, when we first launched the NBTC 24 as a ranking system that recognizes the future of collegiate basketball and, ultimately, Philippine basketball."

Players in the NBTC 24, as well as standouts during the National Finals, will be named as part of the pool for the NBTC All-Star Game, which will also have its usual side events like the Three-Point Shootout, Skills Challenge, and Slam Dunk contest.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Philippine Football Federation taps adidas for Filipinas

adidas x Filipinas

An old friend has return to help the Philippines enter into unchartered waters.

On Thursday, the Philippine Football Federation has entered into a partnership with adidas to be the official kit supplier for the Senior Women's National Football team.

The Filipinas lived the famed Impossible is Nothing mantra by pulling off what was once unthnikable, earning their first-ever berth in the FIFA Women's World Cup, the highest level of competition for women's football worldwide.

It is this kind of groundbreaking move that inspired adidas to make the move in joining forces with the team, as a means to help empower them to victory and with unwavering glory. It is an action that aligns with the vision of sports as a means to change lives, which they will channel through the Filipinas as its latest role models, helping grow the game and move it forward.

To highlight the four-year agreement, the contract signing took place at the New World Hotel in Makati, with representatives from the federation, the team, and the brand present, both in person and online.

On hand for the PFF is General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes, whilst General Manager Anthony Frangos repped adidas Philippines. Making their presence felt as well are Kaya FC Women stalwarts Hali Long and Inna Palacios. Meanwhile, witnessing things online are fellow Philippines internationals Olivia McDaniel and Sarina Bolden, Team Manager Jeff Cheng, Belay Fernando-dela Cruz of the PFF as well as President Mariano Araneta.

In unveiling the partnership, Frangos shares, "As the country’s national women’s football team gears to have a packed 2023 ahead of them, we at adidas are truly honored to forge a partnership with them. In everything we do as a brand, we have always drawn inspiration from the saying ‘Impossible Is Nothing,’ and it is very clear how the national women’s football team has also long brought this to life. As we move forward, adidas promises to be beside these inspiring women for every training, every milestone, and every victory that awaits them."

On behalf of the team, Cheng says, "This is an incredibly significant partnership for the Philippine Women’s National Football Team. We are honored to  have adidas as our official kit supplier as we prepare to compete at the Philippines’ maiden FIFA World Cup in six months’ time.
We thank adidas for its inclusive support for the beautiful game all over the world, for sponsoring the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and now for giving its full support to the Philippines’ women’s teams, not just to our Senior Team bound for the World Cup but also to our youth teams participating in various international tournaments in the coming months.
Our entire group is excited to be adidas ambassadors and we hope that, together, we can bring football in the Philippines to unprecedented heights

Notable aspects of the partnership includes dressing up the women's youth teams, with both the Under-20 and Under-17 teams set for continental participation later this year.

The Filipinas are in for a hectic 2023, capped by their inaugural participation in the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia/New Zealand. After the ceremony, Long and Palacios were scheduled to fly out later that day as they join the rest of the squad in Spain for the Pinatar Cup, a four-team tournament alongside European sides Wales, Scotland, and Iceland. Also on tap in between the two competitions are the first round of Olympic qualifying in April and the Southeast Asian Games in May.

adidas will provide more updates with regards to their partnership with the Filipinas on their social media platforms, as well as through their app and

Saturday, February 4, 2023

San Sebastian nips Arellano

Games Sunday at EAC Gym
9:30 a.m. – JRU vs Arellano
1 p.m. – Lyceum vs La Salle-Greenhills

San Sebastian secured their first win of the season, nipping Arellano, 72-69 on Friday at the EAC Gym, as Rion Porcadas converted a triple with 24.4 seconds remaining at the NCAA Season 98 HS Basketball tournament.

Naren Mallari had the chance to force an extension for the Braves, but he missed the game-tying triple to give the win to the Staglets.

Porcadas finished with twelve points and five assists, while Ernest Geronimo led the team with twenty points, five rebounds, and seven assists. San Sebastian joins San Beda, Jose Rizal University, and Lyceum in a tie with a victory and a defeat in their slate.

Xyrill Jalalon, the younger brother of Jio, led the Braves with sixteen points, six rebounds, and five assists, while James Moore almost had a double-double with fourteen points, nine rebounds, and three assists.

Arellano drops to 0-2 alongside La Salle-Greenhills and Emilio Aguinaldo College.

Sunday action at the EAC Gym will feature JRU against Arellano at 930am, followed by LSGH against Lyceum at 1pm.

The next day will feature a triple-header, headlined by a matchup of two undefeated teams in Mapua and Perpetual.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

NCAA set to commence high school basketball action

Games today at the EAC Gym

8 a.m. - Benilde-LSGH vs Mapua
10 a.m. - Letran vs SSC-R
12 noon - Arellano vs Perpetual
2:30 p.m. - EAC vs JRU
4:30 p.m. - LPU vs San Beda

A five-game slate kicks off the NCAA Season 98 juniors basketball tournament on Wednesday, with the games to be played at the EAC Gym.

Opening things up is La Salle-Greenhills against Mapua-Malayan at 8am, the first game since San Beda's 98-77 win over Lyceum in Game 3 of their finals matchup last November 19, 2019.

The Greenies bolstered their squad for the upcoming season, with Gilas Youth standouts Seven Gagate, Manuel Pablo, and Santi Romero leading the way, as well as a new head coach in Ren-Ren Ritualo.

At 10am, Letran will go up against San Sebastian. Allen Ricardo has taken charge of the Squires, which will have Andy Gemao and Basti Reyes as his key go-to-guys.

In the lone LIVE televised matchup of the day, Emilio Aguinaldo College will face Jose Rizal University at 230pm.

The finals rematch between the Red Cubs and the Junior Pirates puts a bow on the quintiple-header at 430pm. The defending champions will also have a new coach manning the sidelines in Miko Roldan as they seek their 24th title in the division.

Completing the slate of matches is the matchup between Arellano and the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta at noon.