SBP hopes to form best team when country hosts 2018 Fiba 3x3 world championships
Terrence Romeo has donned the national colors in past 3x3 tournaments. Jerome Ascano

THE Philippines will be hosting the Fiba 3x3 World Championships two years from now, and the Samahang Basketbol ng Plipinas (SBP) hope the best players will be able to represent the country.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios hinted at the likelihood of pro players suiting up for the country since the governing body for basketball will be requesting the PBA to slightly adjust its schedule to give way to the hosting.

“It depends since 2018 is still a bit far off,’ said Barrios on Wednesday when asked if PBA players will comprise the 3x3 squad.

“But hopefully, we ‘ll be able to field the best team that we can,” he stressed. “Remember world yung hosting natin, equivalent ito ng Fiba World Cup where we competed in Spain. Eto 3x3 nga lang, but still it’s a prestigious tournament.”

The circumstances behind the probability of PBA players again representing the country in a major international tournament comes at a time when the SBP decided to form a cadet pool for future national teams following the Fiba's shift to a home-and-away format for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers.

But since SBP would be asking all major and minor leagues to temporarily suspend their respective tournaments during the course of the 3x3 world meet set either in September or October, a slight opening may pave the way for pro players to represent the country in the tournament.

Barrios said the 3x3 tournaments the country successively hosted in 2013 and 2014 were all Asia-Pacific legs of the Fiba World Tour.

“At tsaka club tournaments yun, kaya we have yung Manila West, Manila North, etc. Ito world championship talaga, players will be representing their respective countries,” said Barrios, a former PBA commissioner.

As host, the Philippines is give outright berth to field a team in the meet.

The country was supposed to host the annual event this year, but had to beg off after it was awarded to stage one of the simultaneous Olympic Qualifying Tournaments this July.

“Yung 2017 we have to give way to Qatar, kaya 2018 ang ibinigay sa atin,” said the SBP executive director.

Barrios also noted that Fiba is really hell-bent on lobbying for the inclusion of the 3x3 basketball in the calendar of events of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“So mas lalong mama-magnify yung hosting natin kung magtagumpay ang Fiba nag awing Olympic event ang 3x3,” he said.

This year’s 3x3 world championship will be staged in Guangzhou, China from October 11-15.

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Greece was the first to host the event in 2012 followed by Moscow in 2014. In both times, no Philippine team competed in the meet.

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