Young basketeers you should look out for
by rick olivares
With the SM-National Basketball Training Center National High School Championships in full swing, some 700 schools from all over the country are battling to make it to the finals in Manila this coming March.
In Olongapo City last Sunday, January 15, some of the city’s best battled in the quarterfinals.
Kalalake National High School defeated Old Cabanlan High School, 72-65, to open the knockout phase.
The Columban High School Knights piped their arch-rival and city defending champion, St. Joseph’s Crusaders, 71-69. The two schools, according to Territory Head Cesar Lobo, are Olongapo’s version of the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry with Columban wearing the blue color while St. Joseph’s donning the green and white jerseys.
One of the other matches saw Gordon College dumping AMA Computer University, 63-5. One more match was taking place as of press time.
Of the first two matches, some players who should merit watching my coaches from metro Manila’s top college programs include the following players.
Kalalake National High School
Menari Baturiano – 6’2” forward-center and is 17 years old. A growing big man who should he selected to play in Manila could play the four spot. He can bring down the ball meaning he has dribbling ability. Has an array of moves in the paint – can spin around the baseline, can drive towards the basket. Strong in putbacks. Needs to be more intimidating on defense though.
Gerald Manalo – 5’11” small forward and is 17 years old. A forward who likes to attack. Can sidestep oppose ng defenders and glide in for a lay-up. Needs to work on his perimeter shot though.
Joemari Manalastas – 5’3” point guard and is 16 years old. Will remind one of the University of the Philippines’ Diego Dario. Can shoot, drive, pass, has great vision and can hit that chest pass on the run from just past the half-court line. Plays defense too. Unlike Dario who has a terrific outside shot, this kid needs to work on it. But he has range.
Aldrin Malonzo – 5’11” off-guard and 16 years old. A predator on defense. Makes good reads and raids the passing lanes. Can finish the break and likes to drive to the basket.
The city championships will end this January with the regionals taking place in February. The finals will be played in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
San Beda College is the defending national champion. The NBTC is the official grassroots program of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.