Philippine basketball

‘Special championship’: Terrence Hill lifts Fil-Am Nation to first NBTC title

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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‘Special championship’: Terrence Hill lifts Fil-Am Nation to first NBTC title

BIG GAME. Fil-Am Nation's Terrence Hill drives past his Adamson defender in the NBTC finals.


As Terrence Hill impressed in the NBTC championship, the spitfire Fil-Am scorer looks poised to continue his stellar play at Utah State University in the US NCAA Division 1

MANILA, Philippines – If there is one player who made the most of his NBTC stint, it was Terrence Hill.

Led by the US NCAA Division I-bound Hill, Fil-Am Nation Select bagged its first NBTC championship after dispatching the Adamson Baby Falcons, 79-71, culminating a weeklong National Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, March 24.

Hill finished with 12 markers, 4 boards, and 5 dimes to ultimately lift the Fil-Ams over the hump after losing to the National University Bullpups in the finals last year. 

“This is a special championship,” said Hill. “It was great representing my family,  my team in the States, and myself as a player.”

“It was fun to have done this with my Fil-Am guys, coming out here and winning in the Philippines,” he added. 

With Adamson knocking on the championship door, Hill scored 6 in the Select team’s 11-3 finishing run en route to the title.

Named the Most Outstanding Player, Hill averaged 17.7 points per game on an efficient 34.4% shooting from beyond the arc throughout the tournament. 

Andy Gemao topscored in the championship game with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, along with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. 

Caelum Harris, meanwhile, finished with 13 markers, 4 boards, and 4 blocks for the squad of American teen talents with Filipino roots. 

“I have a pretty stacked group of guys” said Hill of his teammates. “They played very well each game, distributing the ball and making shots. Everyone can do a lot of things.”

After being down double-digits entering the fourth quarter, Adamson tied it up with 4:34 left, 68-68, before the Fil-Ams stirred the run that ultimately fended off the Baby Falcons’ last-gasp rally. 

“We knew Terrence could close out a game. We knew Andy could close out moments. These guys survived on that,” said Fil-Am Select coach Chris Gavina. 

As Hill impressed in the championship run, Gavina expects the spitfire scorer to continue his stellar play at Utah State University in the US NCAA Division 1.

“Utah State is going to have one hell of a player,” said Gavina of Hill. “For me, in the entire tournament, he was our anchor. He seemed to be the most mature, the most composed when we needed it.”

Tebol Garcia, the fifth-ranked player from Adamson, posted 20 points but it all went to naught as the Baby Falcons could not find a way to stop the Fil-Ams down the stretch. 

The loss derailed Adamson’s hopes for a second title in two months after winning the UAAP Season 86 juniors basketball championship in February.

“I expect Adamson and their players to make more noise here in the Philippines,” said Hill. “They are a really talented group, and they impressed me in this game.”

In Division 2, Top Flight Canada escaped Ecogreen-Makati in overtime, 95-93, to become the first foreign team in tournament history to win a title. 

Joining Hill in the Division 1 Mythical Five were Fil-Am Nation teammates Gemao and Jacob Bayla, and Adamson’s Garcia and Vince Reyes. Fil-Am Eian Lowe was also recognized as Best Defensive Player. –

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