Two Cebuanos make NBTC All-Star Game

THE University of Cebu’s (UC) versatile wingman Isaiah Blanco and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu’s Mike Boniel have been selected to play in the prestigious 2020 National Basketball Training Centre (NBTC) All-Star Game.

Blanco, the son of Cebuano basketball legend and Cebu City Councilor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros, recently topped the final rankings of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) NBTC 24, while Boniel, a crafty guard, finished in the second spot. They eventually finished in the 23rd and 24th spots, respectively, of the NBTC national rankings.

Just like last year, the top 24 players from the NCAA and the UAAP were first named to the roster before the best of the best from both lists, alongside those from Cebu and other leagues, were ranked in the Final NBTC 24.

Blanco and Boniel are part of a crop of new faces in the final rankings of the most promising high school prospects in the Philippines.

They will be joined by other first-timers in Ateneo de Manila’s Josh Lazaro (8) and Lebron Lopez (12), Far Eastern University-Diliman’s Penny Estacio (10) and Cholo Anonuevo (13), San Beda College’s Justine Sanchez (14) and Yukien Andrada (17), RC Calimag (19), Letran’s Joshua Ramirez (20), Hope’s Joshua Cajucom (21), and Xavier University’s Miguel Tan (22).

Leading the way in the final NBTC 24 is San Beda-Taytay’s all-around forward Rhayyan Amsali, whose consistency keyed the Red Cubs’ climb to the mountaintop for the first time in four years. The twin towers of Nazareth School of National University, Carl Tamayo, and Kevin Quiambao, then went back-to-back at Nos. 2 and 3 after strong seasons that saw the former retaining the Finals MVP and the latter ranking first in the UAAP NBTC 24.

Completing the ultimate list are All-Star returnees Mac Guadana of the Jr. Pirates at No. 4, Bismarck Lina of UST at No. 6, Terrence Fortea and Gerry Abadiano of the Bullpups at Nos. 9 and 16, Jonnel Policarpio of Mapua at No. 11, Forthsky Padrigao of the Blue Eaglets at No. 15, and Tony Ynot of the Red Cubs at No. 18.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Chooks-to-Go SM-NBTC League National Finals, as well as the annual All-Star Game, were postponed and tentatively rescheduled.

Originally slated to take place from March 21 to 27 at SM Mall of Asia Arena, the week-long showcase of the top young talent in the country has been penciled in for April 20 to 26 still at the same venue. (JNP)