Philippine basketball

Fil-Am Nation Select shows exit door early to NBTC champ NU Bullpups 

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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Fil-Am Nation Select shows exit door early to NBTC champ NU Bullpups 

ALL AROUND. Fil-Am Nation’s Terrence Hill drives past his NU defenders.


Out to avenge last year’s heartbreak, Fil-Am Nation Select gets back at its tormentor early by booting out longtime champion NU-Nazareth School in the NBTC round of 16

MANILA, Philippines – A new high school hoops champion will certainly be crowned this year. 

Out to avenge last year’s heartbreak, Fil-Am Nation Select ended National University-Nazareth School’s bid to extend its reign with an 81-64 blowout victory in the Supreme 16 of the NBTC National Finals on Wednesday, March 20, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

For Caelum Harris – one of the holdovers from last year’s squad featuring top Filipino-American basketball talents – winning the finals rematch was the first step of accomplishing what they came to do. 

“We came here to try to win the championship,” said Harris, who was once part of the Gilas Pilipinas program. 

“Last year, we had a shot at the championship but we lost to them (NU Bullpups). We’re just trying to get there, back [in the finals], and win this time,” he added.

Terrence Hill poured 15 of his 21 points in the middle quarters to create the separation the young Fil-Ams needed to take full control of the game.

It was a surprisingly early exit for the NU Bullpups, who ruled the NBTC tournament in 2018 and 2019, before regaining glory in 2023 after the league’s four-year hiatus due to the pandemic. 

Sebastian Mergate also helped the Fil-Am squad advance to the quarterfinals, displaying his finest game yet with 19 points in 24 minutes 

Gilas Pilipinas Youth members came through as well for Fil-Am Nation with Andy Gemao, a former NCAA juniors MVP, continuing his impressive run in his return to the country with 13 points, and Jacob Bayla adding 10 points. 

Fil-Am Nation takes on One Media TV48 Naga next in the Fantastic 8 on Thursday, March 21. 

One Media TV48 Naga advanced after outlasting Toyomoto Auto Supply-Davao, 68-59, with Christian Fernandez scoring 19 and Jayvee Lavandero posting a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bicolanos.

With the Bullpups’ loss, reigning UAAP juniors champion Adamson Baby Falcons and the UST Tiger Cubs wound up as the only remaining UAAP teams in the national tournament.

Elijah Yusi led the Bullpus with 14 points while Macmac Alfanta, the 16th ranked high school player this year, only chipped in 13 in the losing cause. 

Rounding out the quarterfinalists are North Luzon champion Yengskivel-CAMANAVA, San Sebastian College-Recoletos Manila, Batang Tiaong of Quezon, and the Mapua Cardinals. –

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