FAMILIARITY with physical games in the PBA is one major edge players like Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang have over the rest of the field seeing action in the 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila-Masters which kicks off on Saturday at the Mega Fashion Hall of SM Megamall.
Coach Eric Altamirano made the observation after being tasked by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to oversee the preparation and formation of the four Manila squads entered in the two-day event.
Abueva and Sangalang, easily the biggest PBA names in the tournament the country is hosting for the first time, will be reunited for the first time since their college days with San Sebastian.
“They (Fiba) are allowing players to play physically so I think that is one thing that will be going well for our PBA players,” Altamirano told Spin.ph on Friday.
The two former Stags will be joined by Alaska forward Vic Manuel and Gilas cadet Jake Pascual at Manila North that will take on China’s Xinzhuang (4:30 p.m.) and Auckland of New Zealand (6:20 p.m.) on Saturday.
However, unfamiliarity with the Fiba rules is something pro players will have to contend with as they go up against the best teams from Japan, Qatar, Jakarta, New Zealand, Australia and China.
Since all Filipino players are accustomed to playing in a five-on-five setup, Altamirano had to explain to them the nuances of the Fiba rules like the 10-minute game, the “no inbounds," and the escalating penalties that will be slapped on a team when it exceeds six fouls, among others.
“It’s a very quick game, 10 minutes lang so the first team to make 21 points wins,” said 47-year-old coach of National University, who guided the national team bannered by Jeron Teng, Michael Tolomia, Jeoffrey Javillonar, and Mario Bonleon in the first Asian Youth Games 3x3 event in Singapore in 2009.
“At the same time, wala namang foul out, pero kapag nag-seventh team foul na, may two extra free throws na ibibigay sa kabilang team. Then from ninth to 11th team foul, two free throws naman plus ball possession,” he added.
A second PBA-bannered team, Manila West, starring Terrence Romeo of Globalport, Rey Guevarra of Meralco, KG Canaleta of Talk ‘N Text, and Aldrech Ramos of Air21, battles Kobe of Japan at 4:10 p.m. and defending champion Doha of Qatar at 5:40 p.m.
Manila East, with Ousseynou Karbala Gueye, Darryl Henderson Jr., John Adrian Wong and Jerie Pingoy, faces Surabaya at 4:50 p.m and Yogjakarta at 6:40 p.m, while Manila South, with Joshua Irvin Ayo, Adonis Christian Nismal, Karl Kenneth Estrada, and Raphael Jude De Vera of the national champion Naga City Titans, meets Medan at 3:40 p.m. and Jakarta at 5:20 p.m.
Team Doha, featuring man mountains Mohammed Seleem Abdulla and Yaseen Musa, is fresh from ruling the FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Moscow, while Kobe will glow the brilliance of Japanese star Kenji Hilke and 2012 FIBA 3x3 World Tour participant Jimi Hayakawa
Auckland will be led by Patrich Bolstad, who represented New Zealand at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships last month.
The top two teams from each pool advance to the knockout quarterfinals with the winners moving to the crossover semis. The winners dispute the title, with the champion getting $10,000 and the runner-up $5,000.