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Basketball

SJ Belangel stamps class as best PG, tops Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24

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The UAAP Season 80 Juniors Basketball tournament closed out its elimination round with a bang. But as the day ended, one student-athlete stood a head above the rest of the competition.

Ateneo High School’s senior floor general SJ Belangel dropped a whopping 31 points against the NU Bullpups, leading the Blue Eaglets to an immaculate 14-0 record en route to an automatic Finals berth.

With this outing and the consistency he showed during the preliminaries, Belangel took over the top spot as the best High School prospect in Week 5 of the Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center 24 rankings.

Ateneo big man and 23 for 2023 cadet Kai Sotto dropped to second after sitting atop the ladder for the last four weeks. Rounding out the top five are La Salle’s Joel Cagulangan, UP-commit Will Gozum, and FEU’s L-Jay Gonzales.

For dragging the UST Tiger Cubs to a playoff match against the Adamson Baby Falcons, CJ Cansino, who is bound to win the UAAP Season 80 Juniors Basketball Most Valuable Player plum, went up to seven.

On the other hand, Adamson ace Joem Sabandal also rose in the weekly rankings, going up to 16.

Making the biggest leap this week is Sacred Heart’s Alex Visser. Visser rose to 17th, four spots higher than a week ago.

The biggest loser this week, however, is FEU floor general RJ Abarrientos. The Tamaraws-commit was a non-factor during the Baby Tamaraws’ loss to the Tiger Cubs last Sunday, resulting in a drop from eighth to 14th.

Here is the complete rankings after Week 5:

1. SJ Belangel, ADMU (2)
2. Kai Sotto, ADMU (1)
3. Joel Cagulangan, LSGH (3)
4. Will Gozum, MU (4)
5. L-Jay Gonzales, FEU (5)
6. Rhayann Amsali, NU (6)
7. CJ Cansino, UST (9)
8. Dave Ildefonso, ADMU (7)
9. Aaron Fermin, AU (10)
10. Clint Escamis, MU (11)
11. John Galinato, CKSC (12)
12. Inand Fornilos, LSGH (13)
13. Warren Bonifacio, MU (14)
14. RJ Abarrientos, FEU (8)
15. Evan Nelle, SBC (15)
16. Joem Sabandal, ADU (17)
17. Alex Visser, SHS Cebu (21)
18. Terrence Fortea, NU (16)
19. Raven Cortez, DLSZ (18)
20. Beirn Laurente, UV (20)
21. Mac Guadana, LPU (22)
22. Joaqui Manuel, ADMU (19)
23. Harvey Pagsanjan, HCHS (23)
24. Maui Cruz, EAC (24)

On February 13, Chooks-to-Go/NBTC 24 will go live at the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook page. The night’s guest will be former Gilas pool member Jonathan Grey.

Stay tuned as the show begins at 7:00pm.

The Chooks-to-Go/National Basketball Training Center 24 is the first-ever attempt to rank the top high school prospects in the country today.

The weekly ranking used the following criteria: league stats, impact in team, team record, leadership, defense, offense, and level of competition.

These rankings will be used to determine the 24 players who will take part in the annual SM-NBTC High School All-Star Game on March at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

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