The best Filipino high school players here and abroad will converge once more inside the SM Mall of Asia Arena from March 15 to 19 in the 2023 NBTC National Finals and All-Star Game.
"Finally, after a three-year wait, the stage is set for young Filipino talent to shine again. We're very much excited for our tournament to prove that Philippine grassroots basketball is alive and well," said NBTC Program Director Eric Altamirano.
The national championship most recently won by Nazareth School of National University twice in a row in 2018 and 2019 will be contested by 24 teams who will first duke it out in classification contests where the winners will be classified into Division 1, while the losers will be moved to Division 2. Both divisions will then get three-team groups of four which will battle each other in round-robin eliminations.
The top team from each group will advance to the knockout semifinals and finals, where the Div. 1 and Div. 2 kings will be crowned.
The previous National Finals saw the Bullpups - then led by Carl Tamayo, Terrence Fortea, and Gerry Abadiano - stamp their class on the competition, even as they were challenged by Jalen Green's Fil-Am Sports USA, Kai Sotto's Ateneo de Manila High School, and Justine Sanchez and Yukien Andrada's San Beda High School.
For the first time, the NBTC's 13th season is no longer confined to school-based squads and now includes club teams. All players, however, must be born before January 1, 2004 and have Filipino lineage.
Alongside the National Finals, the All-Star Game between Team Heart and Team Hustle will also return, providing a grand stage for top talent to showcase their skills for the whole world to witness.
As always, the participants will be selected through the NBTC 24, which ranks the best of the best players in the ongoing NCAA Season 98 Juniors Tournament and UAAP Season 85 Boys Tournament, as well as the recently-concluded CESAFI Season 22 High School Tournament. Like before, the selection committee is made up of print and online sportswriters regularly covering the leagues who use both statistics and the eye test to determine the top two dozen Filipino high school players.
"We're happy to be continuing on the road we've been on since 2017, when we first launched the NBTC 24 as a ranking system that recognizes the future of collegiate basketball and, ultimately, Philippine basketball," said NBTC Special Projects Head Anton Altamirano.
International and provincial players who stand out in the National Finals will also be named into the All-Star Game, while side events such as the Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, and Skills Challenge come back as well.