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NBTC high school cagefest heads to provinces

MANILA, Philippines – The National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) will be bringing the best of the high school basketball play to the provinces as the inaugural NBTC Regional Championships kicks off next year.

In January next year, the regional championships will kick off in the North, as Laoag hosts the North Luzon regional championships at the Centennial Arena.

The Mindanao championship will be held at the Sarangani Sports Training Center from February 1-4; the Visayas championship at Cebu Coliseum from February 15-18; and the South Luzon championship at the Batangas City Sports Center from February 29 to March 3.

NBTC program director Eric Altamirano said that the regional championships will put the spotlight on the provinces.

“For the last 14 years, the highlight of the program is always the national finals. During the national finals, it is really focused on the Filipino-foreign players, the top players, the big name players that will be recruited highly for college or maybe in the national team,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Mall of Asia Arena Thursday.

“So, what we came up with for this coming season is to really highlight the provincial players. We wanted to put them in a platform or stage where they will be the stars, they will be seen and given enough exposure so that when the nationals come, there is already some noise,” he added.

Young talents from Northern Luzon will be at the forefront with the regional championships, said Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc, who also attended the press conference.

“We’re honored to be the first to kick off the [regional championships] and we’re excited to unearth the best young talents from North Luzon,” he said.

The top four teams of the championships will book their tickets to the national finals, which will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena from March 18-24.

The local city qualifiers are already ongoing.

“The exposure we give for the national finals in terms of broadcast, in terms of really identifying the best players, we want to do that as well during the regional championships,” Altamirano said.

“Here is where we will see the new breeds of heroes, especially coming from the different