WHILE All-Star Games usually turn out to be mere shootouts with little regard for defense, the National Basketball Training Center coaches guaranteed that their rising stars will put on a fine show of high-class basketball in this year’s showcase.
While several from the 24 high school players lined up have committed to college teams, some of them have not, one reason coach JB Sison of San Beda believes the match set on March 8 at the Meralco Gym will be “special.”
“They are going to do something special,” said Sison, who led the Red Cubs to their sixth straight NCAA crown.
“Competitive ’yang mga ’yan. Malaking bagay ’yan para sa kanila especially na graduating sila at may mga scouts na makakakita sa kanila.”
The All-Star game will be played at 11 a.m. right before the NBTC League’s championship game at 1 p.m.
Sison’s squad will be composed of Fran Yu of Chiang Kai Shek College, Philip Manalang and Mark Dyke of National University, Marvin Lee and Brandrey Bienes of Far Eastern University, Andrei Caracut of San Beda, Jollo Go of Hope Christian High School, Jerrick Balanza of Letran, Denniel Aguirre of Mapua, Frederick Tungcab of Adamson, Mike Nieto of Ateneo, and John Gob of La Salle Greenhills.
The Red and White All-Stars held light practices on Sunday before the Play4Coi charity event at The Arena in San Juan after the final 24 were picked from a series of tryouts held over the weeks.
White coach Joe Silva agreed with Sison.
“The boys know how to win,” said Silva, who recently guided the Ateneo Blue Eaglets to the UAAP juniors crown. “Yes, it’s an All-Star Game but they also want to win.”
Silva’s wards will be Noah Lugo of Mapua, Marc Diputado of San Beda, JV Gallego and Jonas Tibayan of Chiang Kai Shek College, Matt Nieto of Ateneo, Wendell Comboy of Far Eastern University-Diliman, Renzel Yongco of St. Jude Christian School, Darius Estrella of Jose Rizal University, Quinito Banzon of De La Salle-Zobel, Nico Abatayo and Kenneth Alas of San Beda, and Tzaddy Rangel of Hope Christian High School.
“Malakas ’yung team ko. I’m pretty sure that the Red team will also put up a good fight. I’m confident with the boys that they can do it. Everyone can score, everyone can create,” said Silva.
NBTC program founder and NU head coach Eric Altamirano is pleased to again come up with a solid lineup of players from different leagues.
“The NBTC All-Star Game is big for high school players because it gives everyone a chance to be scouted by college coaches from all over the country especially in Manila. And for those who have not been recruited, this is a good venue for everyone to see what they are missing,” Altamirano said.
The NBTC All-Star Game started in 2012 with Mapua’s Ace Basas winning the MVP crown. Letran’s Rey Nambatac and Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena won the top award in the next two editions.