Impressive Fil-Fors in 2017 NBTC

Throughout the 2017 SM National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) National Championships, a lot of players have stepped up and stood out, and a few of these have been foreigners of Filipino descent.

Four foreign-based teams composed of Filipino-foreigners have competed in the NBTC, with one team each from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Of all the players on these Fil-For teams, a number have turned some heads and have attracted a hefty level of interest from eager collegiate basketball scouts in attendance.

Let’s take a look at some of these skilled hoopsters who have what it takes to be potential stars in the next few years.

The Maagdenberg Brothers (New Zealand):

Emmanuel Maagdenberg – 12.3ppg, 8.7rpg

Edward Maagdenberg – 6.0ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.7bpg

Their eldest brother, Patrick, was rumored to be in the FEU Tamaraws’ wheelhouse for UAAP Season 79, but that didn’t pan out. Now, his two younger siblings are here strutting their stuff for all the other collegiate basketball scouts to see, and both Emmanuel and Edward have been pretty impressive. Emmanuel — the older of the two — seems to have the more polished skill-set, especially in terms of offense, but it’s Edward (6’5) who may have more upside. The latter was actually included in the preliminary 24-man pool for Batang Gilas U16 this year, and current coach Mike Oliver has liked what he’s seen, though he isn’t sure if Edward is willing to stay and train with the RP-Youth squad. Still, both Maagdenberg brothers have the right size to match up with local wingmen and big men, so they should merit a fair level of interest from several colleges.

Evyn Santiago (Canada) – 14.7ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.7apg, 1.7spg

Santiago is a 6’4 point guard who, as his stats imply, could be a solid playmaker for any prospective local colleges looking for a big floor general. He has also hit a total of 8 triples in 3 games, so he has a streaky touch from long distance, too.

Matthew Daves (Canada) – 14.0ppg, 12.0rpg, 1.7apg

Daves is quite an intriguing prospect. He plays in the Canadian frontline in the NBTC, and he has great size for it (6’5-6’6). He recorded double-doubles in their games against the Kiwis and the Red Robins, and he could be worth a look for local schools aiming to upgrade their inside presence.

Jasper Rentoy (Australia) – 12.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.7apg

The 6’1 Rentoy is not the most imposing player on Australia’s NBTC squad, but he has surely been one of the most productive. He has been the team’s leading scorer in two of their three games, averaging exactly a dozen markers per outing. He has also shown a pretty streaky touch from long range, which makes him a potentially intriguing prospect at the SG position. Of course, in these parts, talented guards are a dime a dozen, so the likelihood he’ll get a hefty amount of serious offers is not very high.

James Cabban (Australia)- 12.3ppg, 9.7rpg, 3.0apg, 2.3spg

Cabban is only 6’2, but he has been one of the top rebounders in the 2017 NBTC National Championships. He just outplayed blue chip Team USA talent Kamaka Hepa (more on him later) in their match up, putting up a 15-12 line as the Aussies prevailed, 70-68. He’s undersized to be a frontliner in the Philippines, but he has an impressive enough skill-set to make at least a handful of scouts and coaches take notice.

Bruce Edwards (USA) – 20.3ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, 1.3 triples per game

Edwards was supposedly to debut for Adamson in UAAP Season 79, but he stayed on Team B instead and, somehow, found his way playing for the USA squad here in the NBTC. As the numbers suggest, the 6’4 Edwards looks to be the total package. He can score, rebound, and defend. He can mix it up in the paint and shoot from long range. He should be a handful next season if Adamson keeps him, and they should.

Kamaka Hepa (USA) – 15.3ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, 4.0bpg, 1.0 triples per game

This native of Barrow, Alaska debuted with aplomb yesterday against no less than the San Beda Red Cubs, putting up an eye-popping 27-13-5-1-7 line. He dazzled with his scoring, playmaking, and shot-blocking prowess. He lived up to his top-level billing and, needless to say, all scouts and coaches who witnessed his performance were salivating at the prospect of having him potentially play here in Manila or for the national team in the future. It may be all for naught, though, as Hepa has been offered numerous US NCAA Division 1 scholarships by strong programs like the Miami Hurricanes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon Ducks, Texas Longhorns and others. The chances of the 6’9 17-year-old uprooting himself and relocating to the Philippines are low, but if he does, he should be an instant superstar. Don’t let his more pedestrian lines against SHS-Ateneo De Cebu and Team Australia fool you. Kamaka Hepa, who traces his roots to Pangasinan, is the real deal.

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