Canada's Top Flight claims NBTC Division 2 title

Canada’s Top Flight claims NBTC Division 2 title

/ 08:01 PM March 24, 2024

Top Flight Canada NBTC

Canada’s Top Flight after winning the NBTC Division 2 title.–NBTC PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Top Flight Canada had to endure five more minutes of intense play to squeak past EcoGreen Makati, 95-93, in overtime to notch the Division 2 championship of the 2024 NBTC National Finals at Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

Top Flight officially became the first international basketball club to win a division championship in the NBTC.


“It’s a true honor to win this. Even back in Vancouver, people talk about this [NBTC], we know how big this is so it’s an absolute honor to be the first team, internationally, to win this prestigious tournament,” said coach Nap Santos.


“If we play tough defense, they’ll start missing their shots and they did. I trusted them and I trusted their defense.”

After being down by as much as 15 in the first half, Top Flight went on an explosive fourth quarter to test the mettle of also-ran Makati.

EcoGreen led, 83-81, with 2:04 left in the payoff period until Justin Thompson,  got fouled on a drive and sank half of his freebies to inch closer, 83-82, with 1:10 to go.

CJ Mesias then fouled Joey Panghulan, who also went one for two in the free throw line to finally tie the game with 25.3 left in regulation.

Javi Jugo, who finished with 17 points for Makati, had a chance to win the game for EcoGreen with a layup at the buzzer but he missed.

There wasn’t any shortage of action in overtime as both squads continued their helter-skelter brand of basketball, exchanging basket after basket to be tied at 93-all with 43 seconds to go in the game.


Thompson, whose brother Scottie was in the stands, took matters into his own hands with a euro step and layup on the fastbreak to decisively put Top Flight up, 95-93, for good.

Ryan Garcia topscored for Canada with 20 points, while KC Espinosa, Panghulan, and Allen Vergara finished with 17, 16 and 15 points, respectively.

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Russel Bayani led Makati in scoring with 18 points but to no avail. David Cruz and Mesias also turned in 14 and 13 points, respectively in the defeat.

TAGS: NBTC, NBTC National Finals

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