Twenty-four teams nationwide and all over the globe will converge at the Mall of Asia Arena for the 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals from March 15 to 19.
It’s a triumphant return for the national high school championship after three years of inactivity as the budding basketball stars of tomorrow get a taste of the limelight.
“It has always been our mission to put the spotlight on the grassroots level of Philippine basketball and after 13 years, that remains the same. We firmly believe that investing in the future now can only set us up for a brighter tomorrow,” said NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano in the pre-tournament press conference Thursday at Premiere Café.
Two of the Final Four teams from each of the UAAP and NCAA headline the list, which also includes eight international squads from the NBTC Global Games and 12 champions from the Local Qualifying Tournaments (LQTs).
All 24 teams will go through the Super 24 round on March 15, with the winners advancing to Division 1, and the remaining teams being relegated to Division 2.
Each division will then be placed into four groups of three, playing a round-robin format on March 16 and 17, with the top teams from each group advancing to the knockout semifinals.
The championship game for both divisions will be held on March 19, alongside the Under Armour-NBTC All-Star Game, Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, and Skills Challenge featuring the top high school players.
All games will be livestreamed on Facebook on NBTC, Smart Sports, and Puso Pilipinas pages.
“Our chairman MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) and our president Al Panlilio are very committed and dedicated to nation-building and that’s really why we like supporting sports because it keeps everyone united,” said PLDT First Vice President and Head of Sports Jude Turcuato.
There will also be the first-ever Smart-NBTC Girls Have Next powered by Fil-Nation Select at Pretty Huge in Taguig where eight HS girls teams play from March 15 to 17, with the championship to be played on March 19 at the Mall of Asia Arena as well.
The 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals is presented by SM, Strong Realty and Development Corp., Under Armour, and Molten, with Tecno, Regent, Rebel Sports Pilipinas, MNL Kingpin, Gatorade, Swish App, Victory Liner, Darlington, Coach E Basketball School, Lighthouse Events, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) as sponsors.
“The NBTC has been a source of talent before and it will continue to do so,” said SBP Deputy Executive Director Butch Antonio.