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Junior MVPs Mapua’s Estrella, Ateneo’s Mike Nieto to banner 4th NBTC All-Star Game
by rick olivares
The next generation of basketball stars will showcase their talents on Sunday, March 8, 2015 in the 4th National Basketball Training Center All-Star Game at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
Led by NCAA Juniors Most Valuable Player Darius Estrella of Jose Rizal University and UAAP counterpart Michael Nieto, 24 of the best high school players from all over the country will participate in the highlight of the NBTC’s culminating weekend that also includes the Seaoil NBTC Championship that pits the Manila league champions versus the best from the country.
Chiang Kai Shek College’s Fran Yu, National University’s Philip Manalang and Mark Dyke, Far Eastern University’s Marvin Lee and Brandrey Bienes, San Beda College’s Andrei Caracut, Adamson's Frederick Tungcab, Hope Christian High School’s Jollo Go, Letran’s Jerrick Balanza, Mapua’s Denniel Aguirre, La Salle Greenhills’ John Gob, and Ateneo’s Mike Nieto comprise the Dark Team that will be coach by Red Cubs’ coach JB Sison.
The Light squad that will be coached by Ateneo’s Joe Silva lists Mapua’s Noah Lugo, SBC’s Marc Diputado, Kenneth Alas, and Nico Abatayo, CKSC’s JV Gallego and Jonas Tibayan, the Blue Eaglets’ Matt Nieto, FEU’s Wendell Comboy, St. Jude’s Renzel Yongco, DLSZ’s Quinito Banzon, HCHS’s Tzaddy Rangel, and Estrella.
“The NBTC All-Star Game is big for high school players because it gives everyone as chance to be scouted by college coaches from all over the country especially in Manila,” noted NBTC Program founder Eric Altamirano. “And for those who have not been recruited, this is a good venue for everyone to see what they are missing.”
“I think this is a good opportunity for non-NCAA and UAAP players to be noticed by college coaches,” added Chiang Kai Shek’s JV Gallego who was named Most Valuable Player of the recent Metro Manila Basketball League Finals where the Blue Dragons defeated NCAA champions San Beda.
It was in this tournament where Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu’s Henry Asilum and Dave Yu were discovered. Asilum went to the University of the Philippines while Yu was a rookie on NU’s UAAP seniors champion squad of last season.
During the first ever NBTC All-Star Game in 2012, Mapua’s little known Ace Basas rose from the talented heap that included his teammate JJ Alejandro, Xavier’s Jeron Teng, and San Beda’s Francis Abarcar among others.
The following edition, Letran’s Rey Nambatac stood tall among the cast of All-Stars. Then in last year’s match, Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena copped top honors.
The NBTC All-Star game will be played at 11am and will be followed by the National Finals at 1pm. The NBTC defending champions are the Chiang Kai Shek College Blue Dragons.