Fil-Nation Select started its 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals stint in a huge way, routing Doc Boleros by 56 points, 116-60, at Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.
The tandem of Jacob Bayla (17) and Jason Mandaquit Jr. (14) combined for 31 points to lead the Fil-Americans’ runaway win that sent them to Division 1, while Doc Boleros was relegated to Division 2.
Like Fil-Nation Select, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Landmasters also punched its ticket to Division 1 after a 99-54 blowout of Rome Elite.
Raffy Celis nearly tallied a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds while top-ranked high school player Jared Bahay finished with seven points, five assists, four steals, and three rebounds
Defending champion National University-Nazareth School routed Philippine Christian University-Dasmarinas, 93-68.
Reinhard Jumamoy, the third-ranked HS player in the Philippines, played an all-around game of 17 markers, 10 boards, five dimes, and three steals.
UST then squeaked by Team Tarlac, 66-62, to also get a Division 1 ticket, as NBTC All-Star Mark Llemit led the Tiger Cubs with 13 markers while James Jumao-as helped the cause with 12 of his own.
Winnipeg, on the other hand, zoomed past Team United, 86-72, behind Lorence Dela Cruz’s heroics. The Slam Dunk Contest participant finished with 22 points and eight boards.
Fellow Canadian squad Toronto demolished St. Benilde International School, 83-63, as Gabriel Obusan was a rebound away from a double-double outing with 18 markers and nine boards to go along with five dimes.
Batang Tiaong turned in the biggest upset of the day by downing fourth-seed Ateneo, 64-41. John Rex Villanueva led the domination with 21 markers, all from triples, as John Mowell Morales also came up with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Pinoy Mavs squeaked past Holy Trinity, 83-79, behind Andre Salomon’s monster game of a 13-point, 14-rebound double-double while Val Mercado scattered 20 on a highly-efficient 48 percent clip.
Level Up Team Abro dumped University of Luzon by a huge margin, 111-74, with six players in double-figures, namely: Ping Xian-Yee with 16, Robert Morado II with 15, Daryl Acero and Patrick Torejas with 14, Norman Cagampang with 12, and Karlo Estomo with 10.
The Dubai Patriots, meanwhile, dealt University of Batangas a close 66-65 defeat behind Joseph Degullado’s 11 markers built on two triples.