NATIONAL University-Nazareth School (NUNS) tries to make more history as it seeks a “three-peat” when the 2023 Smart-National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National Finals presented by SM kicks off Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Led by NBTC All-Star and No. 3-ranked high school player Rein Jumamoy, the Bullpups are motivated to achieve glory in the national high school championship as they come in as the top-seed in the 24-team field.
The field also features University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) schools University of Santo Tomas and Ateneo, National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Mapua, eight international squads and 12 local qualifiers.
It’s a quick turnaround for NUNS which bowed out of the semifinals in UAAP Season 85 and rookie coach Kevin de Castro is looking to make the most of this second chance to follow in the footsteps of coach Jeff Napa and former Bullpups mentor Goldwin Monteverde.
Jumamoy and co. take on Cavite champion Philippine Christian University-Dasmariñas in the Super 24, with the winner advancing to Division 1, while the loser gets relegated to Division 2 of the tournament powered by Smart, SM, Strong Realty and Development Corp., Under Armour and Molten.
Top-rated high school star Jared Bahay and his Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu open the festivities against European champions Rome Elite, as perennial contender Pampanga Delta collides with Homegrown Australia.
US West Coast representative Fil-Nation Select also comes in as one of the favorites as it leans on Gilas Pilipinas Youth players Caelum Harris, Jacob Bayla and Zain Mahmood.
They face off against National Capital Region representatives Doc Boleros.
All games will be livestreamed on Facebook via the NBTC, Smart Sports and Puso Pilipinas pages.