The National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) has forged partnership with SM to strengthen its grassroots program in the country.
“We have no doubts but to really support NBTC, not only financially but we’re really raising the awareness on the program. We’re looking forward to more years of supporting them,” said CJ Suarez, sports development head of SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Inc. on Tuesday at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum in Malate.
NBTC program director coach Eric Altamirano said that the nationwide grassroots program focuses on developing high school players by allowing them to train with top teams and coaches.
NBTC, which started eight years ago, covers 48 cities in the country and with over 700 public and private schools members.
“The main objective of the program is to develop skills, build character and raise leaders. We don’t only develop players even coaches,” said Altamirano who is also the current head coach of the National University Bulldogs.
Some of notable NBTC products are former Far Eastern University Tamaraw Mike Tolomia, Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson and Meralco Bolts’ Baser Amer.
This year’s national championships, through the new partnership with SM, will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City from March 13 to 17.
For the national championships, the top 24 teams will be divided into two divisions bracketed into four groups. Winners of every group will advance to the semifinals.
The game format is after the International Basketball Federation.
After the national finals, a high school All-Star game will highlight NBTC’s calendar year.
NBTC selection committee head Edmundo Badolato said that the try-outs would start late February. The All-Star game will scout for best-of-the-best youth players including those from National Collegiate Athletic Association and University Athletic Association of the Philippines participating schools.
Two international teams from Canada and Thailand will also participate in the selection for the All-Star game, said Badolato.
Altamirano said that their program is supported by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
“NBTC is a major contributor to SBP grassroots development program, especially for the Youth Under 18 Age Sector. It is not just a nationwide basketball league with far ranging reach but also a “mentor” of valuable character-building values and enhancing basketball skills of both players and coaches,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios in a text message sent to The Manila Times.