PHILIPPINE teams Pasig Grindhouse Kings and 1Bataan Risers get a huge shot in the arm as a former Novi Sad player and a G-Leaguer reinforce their respective teams for for the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Asia Pacific Super Quest this weekend.
Serbian Nikola Pavlovic and American Travis Franklin will beef up the two host squads when they take on some of the best 3x3 crews in the continent.
Pavlovic, a 6-foot-6 sniper who is ranked as the 197th-best 3x3 player in the world, will link up with President's Cup MVP Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, and Troy Rike at Pasig Grindhouse.
"To be honest, (the Philippines is still) really far. But I think this is a good opportunity to grow Philippine 3x3 basketball, especially here in Manila. I think our team is motivated to play in front of the Filipino people," he said.
Meanwhile, Franklin will bring his wealth of experience from his time with Lebanese club Al Mouttahed Tripoli to 1Bataan, where he will team up with Alvin Pasaol and Santi Santillan.
"It's different but it's an open game. At the end of the day, it's basketball and I love this game," said the Colorado State product.
Vigan Baluarte's Karl Dehesa, who suited up for the Philippines in the 2016 Fiba 3x3 World Cup as well as for Manila North in the 2015 Fiba 3x3 World Tour, is also joining the Risers in this campaign.
Despite the additions, the path to the championship remains tough for these Filipino teams when they hit the halfcourt at SM Megamall Fashion Hall.
Pasig Grindhouse is slotted in Pool C, where it will take on Absolute 3X3 Basketball of Chinese Taipei and Jakarta West Bandits of Indonesia in this level-eight 3x3 tourney.
1Bataan, on the other hand, is in Pool B where it will meet world no. 19 Tokyo Dime.exe of Japan and Hong Kong's Anytours M1, which is bannered by former Alab Pilipinas import Reggie Okosa.
World No. 15 club Ulaanbataar of Mongolia is the hands down favorite in Pool A against Korea's Enerskin and Australia's TSV Reading Cinema.
Saigon Aces, reinforced by ex-Adamson guard Ryan Monteclaro and FEU slotman Prince Orizu, is in Pool C together with China's SSLC and New Zealand's Aotearoa.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout quarterfinals.
Pool play is on Saturday, while the knockout playoffs is set on Sunday.
The champion will win US$20,000 as well as a ticket to both the Doha Masters of the 2019 Fiba 3x3 World Tour from April 18 to 19, and the Penang Challenger in China from May 12 to 13.
The runner-up will also head to Doha, while the semifinalists will earn spots to the Huoqian International Kunshan Challenger in China from May 18 to 19.