BOCAUE — Anze Srebovt is far from home but is just glad to play in front of a crowd that loves and knows the sport well.
“The Philippines is amazing,” said the fifth-best 3x3 player in the world on Friday in the opener of the 2018 Fiba 3x3 World Cup.
“They’re really nice and they’re into basketball. They know the rules and they support the Philippine team. They’re all great.”
Srebovt is looking to feed off the energy from the Philippine Arena crowd, hoping this Manila visit brings good luck for Slovenia.
“I hope so. This is my first time in Manila and I hope we win here,” said the 26-year-old.
With Srebovt in the fold, the Slovenian crew won the bronze medal in the 2016 staging of the World Cup in Guangzhou.
They tried to go at it again in 2017, and even met the Philippine team made up of Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, Kobe Paras, and JR Quiñahan in the group stages. Though they made it to the semifinals, they fell to Netherlands in the semifinals and also lost to France in the bronze medal game.
Returning with an intact roster, Srebovt believes that his Slovenian side is ready to make another run for the podium.
“This year, we’re much experienced. We’re much older and we’re much better, I think,” he said as he is joined in the team with Simon Finzgar (ranked seventh-best in the world), Adin Kavgik (11th), and Gasper Ovnik (13th).
And he won’t mind if it pits the Slovenians against the Filipinos anew, just like how it was last year.
“I hope we see the Philippine team,” he said.