After three long years, the SMART National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) is finally making a comeback.
As the biggest basketball grassroots event in the country, it will once again provide a platform for talented Filipino youth to showcase their skills and potential.
The founder of NBTC, Eric Altamirano, led the press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of laying down the foundation early for the benefit of Philippine basketball in the long run.
“We believe that laying down the foundation this early, will only benefit Philippine basketball in the long run,” said Altamirano in the press conference also attended by SM Prime chairman Hans Sy, SMART first vice president and head of Sports Jude Turcuato, and Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio.
From March 15-19, the five-day event will feature 24 teams coming from the best high school teams and youth clubs in the country, namely Sacred Heart, Pampanga Delta, Team Tarlac, PCU-Cavite, St. Benilde International School, Don Bosco, Doc Boleros, Holy Trinity College, Team Abro, University of Luzon, Batangas, and four teams from the NCAA and the UAAP.
Meanwhile, Fil-foreign clubs competing are Team United, Fil-Nation Select, Winnipeg, Toronto, Homegrown Crusaders, Rome Elite, Pinoy Mavs, and Dubai Patriots.
For the first-time a girls tournament will also take place at Pretty Huge in BGC.
Nazareth School of National University will finally unveil its high school girls’ program and will topbill the cast which will play from March 15 to 17, culminating in the championship game on March 19 at Mall of Asia Arena.
Fil-Nation Select, University of Santo Tomas, Miriam College, and La Salle-Antipolo are all ready to give the Lady Bullpups a run for their money, while completing the field are La Filipina Blue Fire, Queen Anne School-Sta. Rosa, and One Ibajay-Aklan.
Aside from the tournament games, the event will also feature an All-Star Game from Team Heart and Team Hustle, the favorite slam dunk contest, three-point shootout, and skills challenge. For the first time, the tournament will also open a girls’ tournament.
Over the years, NBTC has produced some of the well-known stars in the country, including overseas imports such as Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, and Dave Ildefonso, NBA star Jalen Green, and PBA talents like Scottie Thompson, Kevin Alas, Baser Amer, and Jeron Teng.
The last NBTC was held in 2019 with National University claiming the throne led by Carl Tamayo, Terrence Fortea and Gerry Abadiano.
It is still uncertain however if the Bullpups can defend their crown due to UAAP Boys Basketball Season still ongoing.
All games will be livestreamed on Facebook on NBTC, Smart Sports, and Puso Pilipinas pages.
“Our chairman MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) and our president Al Panlilio are very committed and dedicated to nation-building and that’s really why we like supporting sports because it keeps everyone united,” said Turcuato.
As the NBTC returns after a long hiatus, basketball enthusiasts and fans alike are looking forward to witnessing the next generation of basketball stars rise to fame and make a name for themselves in the basketball scene.
Catch the SMART NBTC National Finals from March 15 to 19, 2023 only on SMART Sports’ Facebook page.