Celis lead Sacred Heart-Ateneo past Rome Elite Italy in NBTC hoops


RAFFY CELIS stole the show from peer Jared Bahay and anchored Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Landmasters to a dominant 99-54 blowout of Rome Elite Italy to open the Smart-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National Finals presented by SM Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The hardworking forward fired 11 points and nine rebounds as the Magis Eagles lorded down low and grabbed 54 rebounds to the Fil-Italians’ 27.

“We just executed and we did what we practised,” said Celis as the Francis Auquico-coached side advanced to the Division 1 of the tournament powered by Smart, SM, Strong Realty and Development Corp., Under Armour and Molten.

Bahay, the top-ranked high school player, was happy to set his teammates up and finished with seven points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds, while Jelomar Rota scored 11 points.

University of Santo Tomas also earned early entry to Division 1 after clipping Team Tarlac, 66-62.

NBTC All-Star Mark Llemit uncorked 13 points AND James Jumao-as 12 points for the Tiger Cubs.

Winnipeg slipped past Team United USA, 86-72, behind Lorence Dela Cruz’ 22 points, eight boards, and three assists, as fellow Canadian squad Toronto routed St. Benilde International School, 83-63, behind Gabriel Obusan’s 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Losers of the Super 24 were relegated to Division 2, but will still play in the Magic 12 round-robin phase in the next two days.

All games will be livestreamed on Facebook on the NBTC, Smart Sports and Puso Pilipinas pages.

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