The annual gathering of some of the best high school teams in the archipelago lived up to its potential at the kickoff of the National Basketball Training Center League, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Slated to run through March 17, the day 1 results of the NBTC league was mixed with brilliant comebacks, close encounters, and dominant performances between junior squads that features both familiar and new names.
In what has been a thriller match-up of the day, Sacred Heart School – Ateneo de Cebu came up with a heartstrong performance in the second half to stun Traill International School Thailand, 76-72.
Down 13 at the half, Pastor Eroll paved the Mandaue-based school’s comeback win with a monster double-double figure of 26 points (16 in the 2nd half) and 17 rebounds. Traill’s Joson Antonio and Johann Rubite combined for 47 points but could not weather a searing 24-11 charge by Ateneo de Cebu in the pivotal fourth quarter stretch.
It was also the same scenario when the day started as Chiang Kai Shek College pulled a come-from-behind victory over Canada Durmam Crossover, 62-60.
The Tondo-based dribblers managed to cover for their sub-par 3rd quarter showing with a 27-point explosion in crunch time to seal the win. John Martin Galinato topscored for Chiang Kai Shek with 19 points while Canada’s James Canlas figured with 23 points and 13 boards in a losing effort.
If there were some exciting turnaround, there were also games where some of the high school teams are just too much for their rival.
Fresh from their championship victory in the UAAP Juniors, the Nazareth School of NU didn’t show some slack as they rolled past Bacolod Tay Tung High School, 88-38 to start their NBTC campaign.
The big and talented Bullpups’ duo of John Lloyd Clemente and Justine Baltazar led the way for NU’s easy win, notching 19 and 14 markers, respectively. Only Miguel Corteza finished in double figure for the Bacolod team with 15 points.
La Finn’s Scholastica of La Union ended the last game of the day in a high note, breaching the century mark when they drubbed Dr. Aurelio Mendoza Memorial College of Zamboanga Sibugay, 113-63 in a north vs south battle.
The boys of San Fernando racked up points after another in a dominant fashion, courtesy of stellar performances from Jinken Balancio (34 points, 10 rebounds), Jamel Untao (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Adrian Litonjua (25 points) while two other teammates scored in double figures.
In a rare close match, meanwhile, Castillejos National High School of Zambales prevailed over Paref Springdale School inc., 53-47. After a tug-of-war scoring in the first 3 quarters, the Zambales young dribblers pulled away down the stretch, thanks to the John Rosendal’s big effort in collecting 21 points and 15 rebounds.
In other games, San Beda downs Lyceum Cavite, 82-51 behind Addie Velasquez’s 16 points and 5 boards. Ian Burlla’s 18 point was enough to push Maryhill College of Lucena past Agusan National High School of Butuan, 59-40. Angeles University Foundation staved off Linao National High School of Ormoc, 68-52. – By Jason Mercene
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