Banner field expected for 10th SM NBTC regional championship after record turnout in qualifiers
NBTC director Eric Altamirano said 16 slots are up for grabs for the regional championship.

THE 10th SM-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) League Regional Championship presented by Freego is now underway following a record turnout of participants in the local city qualifiers.

NBTC director Eric Altamirano said 16 slots are up for grabs for the regional championship this month following the grueling qualifiers that drew 627 teams across 62 cities nationwide.

Altamirano attributed the record turnout to the number of cities that are now part of the NBTC League which is now up from 48 in last year’s tournament. The first NBTC only had three cities.

“We are servicing more than 14,000 high school kids and 800 schools," said Altamirano during a media briefing on Tuesday in Quezon City. "We’ve grown and we are expecting to grow even more in a couple of years. In terms of being able to help kids, I think at this point, marami na tayong natulungan."

After SM, the NBTC also inked a partnership with Freego as the company continues its support to the basketball grassroots development program.

Freego has already supported major high school basketball tournaments in the Philippine Chinese Amateur Basketball League, Headstart Developmental Basketball League, Metro Manila Basketball League, Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation, and the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship.

“We believe in the program and we have seen how successful it is. We have seen na nagkaroon ang mga bata ng opportunity to be able to show their skill set,” said Freego sports marketing head Edster Sy.

The regional championship will be the next step for the surviving teams on the road to the National High School Championship set March 13 to 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena where they will see action in the Division 2 tournament.

A Division 1 tournament is also slated during the national high school championship as well as an All-Star Game in each division.

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