SIXTY players started undergoing training on Thursday at the Elite 60 Development Camp organized by the NBTC at the Colegio de San Agustin Gym in Makati.
Players 16 years old and younger were grouped into teams in the camp that will be highlighted by a championship game to be played on Saturday and an All-Star Game on Sunday.
Among the participants are Steve Nash Enriquez of University of the Visayas, Harold Alarcon of Bacolod Tay Tung High School, Joshua Tolentino and Kenji Canete of Chiang Kai Shek College, and Aaron James Buensalida of National University.
Campers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as well as from the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are also taking part.
NBTC program director Eric Altamirano said the camp lowered its age limit from 18-under last year to 16-under in order to identify talent from a younger age group and start training them much earlier.
“Last year, when we worked with the 18-under, those kids are already identified and known because they were already playing in the top high school leagues and had made a name for themselves,” said Altamirano in a press conference on Thursday.
“Starting the elite training at a younger age will help fast-track their skills,” said Altamirano.
Former Australia national head coach Rob Beveridge is the director of the camp that is supported by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as a source of talent for the Batang Gilas national squad.
“The SBP has been in partnership with NBTC,” said SBP deputy director for internal affairs Butch Antonio. ”As a matter of fact, sa SBP, they’ve embraced NBTC as the secondary grassroots program.
"SBP is also working with MVP Sports Foundation in trying to find ways and means to support different programs of NBTC. Pang-mahabaan itong relasyon natin with coach Eric’s group. It is a worthwhile endavor.”