MANILA -- Fil-Nation Select opened its campaign in the 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals with a comprehensive 116-60 victory over Doc Boleros, Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
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.
Also advancing to Division 1 is defending champion National University-Nazareth School, which 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.
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.
Mapua also moved on to Division 1 after reigning over Royal Star Trading-Don Bosco Dumaguete, 92-85. Jonalance Masiglat showed the way with 21 points on a blistering 82 percent shooting clip.
Pampanga Delta then notched a nightcap win against Homegrown Australia, 84-81, in a tightly contested ball game. Rhyle Melencio wound up with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaden Puletua also finished with a near double-double of 18 markers and nine boards.
All games will be livestreamed on Facebook on the NBTC, Smart Sports, and Puso Pilipinas pages.
The 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals is sponsored by Tecno, Regent, Rebisco, Jollibee, San Miguel Foundation, Maynilad, Rebel Sports Pilipinas, MNL Kingpin, Gatorade, Swish App, Victory Liner, Jasper Jean, Darlington, Exped, Coach E Basketball School, Lighthouse Events, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.