THE local elimination for the 2010 National Juniors Championships will start early this year to give the winners ample time to prepare for the next phase.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Deputy Executive Director Bernie Atienza, the project director of the NJC, told Sun.Star Cebu that this year’s local elimination round will open in May and June.

The inaugural NJC tournament concluded last Saturday with Manila teams—the St. Clare College (SCC) Saints of Caloocan City and the Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU) Phoenix--winning both the 17-Under and 19-Under titles, respectively.

“I hope we will go bigger this year as we plan to add the women’s and 22-Under divisions. We will ensure that we will not run out of players for our national team and we continue to search for the best talents nationwide through the NJC competition,” said Atienza.

Atienza said the national finals will still be held in Cebu this December.

“The consensus of the participants, as well as officials, during our Fellowship Night was to come back here for the 2010 National Finals in December. However, Iloilo City also wants to host it. So tingnan na lang natin ano ang mangyayari sa darating na araw,” he said.

Cebu City was the unanimous choice as the venue of the inaugural NJC despite the efforts of Davao City and Baguio City to get the chance to host it.