WITH the top three teams in the world on board, expect things to get tough as Manila West starts its title-retention bid in the Manila Masters of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Saturday at the Orosa Atrium of Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.
Terrence Romeo, the ace shooting guard of Globalport, returns to action for Manila West as he teams up anew with Rommel “KG” Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos of NLEX, along with Meralco’s Rey Guevarra.
Also seeing action in the two-day event that starts at 2 p.m. are Manila North and Manila South.
Manila North will have Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel of Alaska, Karl Dehesa of Mehindra (formerly Kia), and amateur stalwart Troy Rosario of National University, while Manila South will be represented by the winners of the Talk ’N Text Tatluhan U18 national championship in Cebu.
The top three FIBA 3x3 teams are joining the Manila Masters, and these are defending world champion Novi Sad A Wahda of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ljubljana of Slovenia, and Doha Qatar.
Novi Sad is in Pool A with Medan Indonesia and CBA-powered Longshi of China, while Ljubljana – the 2013 World Tour winner – is in Pool B with Beirut Lebanon and Manila North.
In Pool C is vengeful Doha, led by 6-foot-8 Yasseen Musa, Kobe of Japan with Devaughn Washington and Nyika Williams, and Kaohsiung team from Taiwan, while Manila West and Manila South will be joined by Auckland New Zealand in Pool D in the preliminary round.
Elimination round action gets underway as Manila West opens the country’s bid when it tackles Auckland at 3 p.m., Manila North faces Beirut at 4 p.m., while Manila South plays Auckland at 5 p.m.
Manila North takes on Ljubljana at 6 p.m., while Manila West and Manila South collide in the final game at 7 p.m.
The top two teams from each pool will advance in the crossover quarterfinal round on Sunday.
After the Manila Masters – the first leg of the FIBA 3X3 World Tour – the next tournament is in Prague in Czech Republic (Aug. 8-9), Beijing in China (Aug. 15-16), Lausanne in Switzerland (Aug. 28-29), in Mexico (Sept. 9-10) and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (Sept. 26-27).
The FIBA 3X3 World Tour final is set in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Oct. 15-16, with the champion winning $200,000. The leg winners will receive $10,000, while in the side event Slam Dunk, which will be played tomorrow, the winner will get $2,000.