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Central Negros Cluster games tip off

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National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) Program Director Coach Frederick “Eric” Altamirano and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Regional Director Robert Uy recently attended the opening program of the Abanse Negrense – NBTC Basketball League – Central Negros local qualifier at the Montalbo Court in Bacolod City on January 13, a week after the opening of the North Negros and South Negros clusters.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson opened the tournament with a welcome address, reminding the athletes to practice fair play. Lacson stressed the provincial government’s goal of producing more outstanding student-athletes by telling the players to prioritize their studies, before focusing on sports participation.

Uy also gave a short message on behalf of the SBP, where he explained that the SBP has been keen in promoting grassroots sports development programs in recent years, and added that he remains hopeful that the new SBP leadership will do the same.

Coach Eric Altamirano also delivered a brief speech by expressing his gratitude to Lacson and Anthony Carlo Agustin, the province’s executive assistant for sports, for the invitation. Although he had been invited to various opening and closing ceremonies of NBTC local leagues all over the Philippines, Altamirano said he never thought twice in accepting Agustin’s invitation because the Province of Negros Occidental has been a longtime partner of NBTC in promoting grassroots sports programs. 

Altamirano also emphasized the primary vision of NBTC, which is “To Develop Skills, Build Character, and Raise Leaders.” During his speech, he reminded the participating players to “play hard, play smart, and have fun” but stressed that playing hard doesn’t mean getting physical.

During the event, Lacson awarded certificates of appreciation and giveaways to Altamirano and Uy. The governor also took the lead in the declaration of the official opening of the Central Negros Cluster tournament and the ceremonial toss along with Altamirano, Uy, and Agustin, who spearheaded the planning, organization, and management of the tournament with the Provincial Sports Office team.

STI-WNU/NZANE was the first victor with an 18-point win against LCC-Bacolod, with a final score of 78 – 60. Davies Paint/El Tzino also took the lead against RGC Stingers with a score of 67 – 59 by the end of the fourth quarter.

Bacolod Tay Tung High School defeated BEBE 2025 after taking a 26-point lead with a score of 63 – 37. Red Owl (Prestige034Focal) crushed the Spartans in an intense game where they scored 62 points against their opponent’s 46.

Meanwhile, ten teams including La Consolacion College, Red Owl (Prestige034Focal), STI West Negros University (STI-WNU/NZANE), Spartans, Bacolod Tay Tung High School (BTTHS), Bata Lions, Davies Paint/El Tzino, RGC Stingers, BEBE 2025, among others, participated in the Central Negros Local Qualifier. Colegio de Sta. Ana – Victorias (CSA-V) was originally part of the roster of participating teams but unfortunately withdrew their participation on Friday afternoon.

Based on CSA-V’s statement sent to the Provincial Sports Office, the school’s management “currently prohibited our participation for specific reasons,” the letter was sent by CSA-V Sports Director Romulo Goyon.

For this NBTC-collaborated league, the champion team from each cluster – North Negros, Central Negros, and South Negros – will vie for the regional championship title on February 15-18 in Cebu City. The winner will then proceed to the National Finals dubbed as “Madness in MOA” on March 18-24, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena where 32 teams composed of 16 Local qualifier champions, 10 global teams, 4 UAAP/NCAA teams, and 2 wildcard teams are set to compete for the national championship.

The Abanse Negrense-NBTC Basketball League is part of the governor’s sports programs, which are primarily focusing on promoting grassroots sports development among the Negrense youth.*

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