6 international teams banner 12th Chooks to Go NBTC National Finals
The 12th Chooks to Go NBTC National Finals presented by SM will involve 16 provincial teams, eight teams from National Capital Region-based schools, six international teams, and two wildcard entries. One of the biggest basketball programs in the country, the Chooks to Go NBTC is a grassroots program presented by SM, which supports the development of Filipino high school basketball players. Teams involved in the finals come from a seeding tournament played in over 100 cities nationwide, with thousands of players that vie for a place in the Nationals at the Mall of Asia Arena. Hand-picked squads from the United States of America (FilAm Sports USA), Vancouver (Top Flight Hoops) and Toronto (Durham Crossover) in Canada, New Zealand (Camp David), Australia, (AusPinoy) and first-timers, Italy (Team Italy Europe), will bring their own contingent of Filipinos born overseas. In recent years, the country has been treated to the growing talent of Canada’s Matthew Daves who is now playing for Ateneo de Manila University, Kamaka Hepa who is now representing the University of Texas Longhorns, Jalen Green who made a huge splash for the US Under-17 national team in the Fiba U17 World Cup and is now with Prolific Prep in California, and Kihei Clark who is now running the point guard position for the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Other teams included in the National Finals include UAAP champions Nazareth School of National University, NCAA champion Malayan University, MMBL champions San Beda University, NBTC Cebu champions Southwestern University, Ateneo de Manila University, La Salle Greenhills, University of San Jose Recoletos, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, as well as NBTC regional champions St. Augustine Pampanga, Southern Philippines Colleges of Cagayan de Oro, St. Mary’s College of Tagum in Davao del Norte, University of Perpetual Help System Jonelta, St. Louis of Don Bosco in Dumaguete, STI-West Negros University out of Bacolod, Sto. Domingo National High School based in Legazpi, Narvacan National High School in Candon, University of Baguio, Isabela College of Cauayan, Lyceum of the Philippines University in Cavite, Sta. Clarita International School in Iloilo, Dolores National High School in Eastern Samar, Zamboanga del Sur National High School, and Holy Trinity College from General Santos City. The two wild cards teams are Hope Christian High School and FEU-FERN. Nazareth School of National University will get to defend the Division One national championship that they won last season against LSGH, while Division Two will crown a new champion as La Salle Lipa, which won at the expense of Bataan last year, did not advance to the big dance.