SENDAI, Japan – The sight of some of the competition on Thursday night has Manila West’s Rey Guevarra shaking his head, two days from the start of the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Finals here.
“Ang la-laki,” said the Meralco Bolts forward at the players from Denver and Santos of Brazil as they waited for their checked-in luggages at the Sendai Airport following the two-hour domestic flight from Tokyo.
“Sa Manila, maliliit lang ang kalaban natin except for Doha (Qatar). Pero dito malalaki na lahat, puro champion pa.”
Guevarra arrived a day earlier with GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo and La Salle Greenhills coach John Flores. KG Canaleta, traded by Talk ‘N Text to NLEX only recently, and another NLEX acquisition Aldrech Ramos will follow Friday in the company of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios.
The four PBA players comprise the Manila West team that beat world champion Doha of Qatar, 21-17, in the Fiba 3x3 Manila Masters final last August at SM Megamall.
Team Manila, in Pool B, takes on Brazil at 1:10 p.m. Saturday (Manila time) and then returns at 2:55 p.m. to face Bucharest.
If they hurdle the group stage, the Filipinos move on to the quarterfinals against a qualifier from Pool C where Kranj of Slovenia, Jakarta and Wukesong of China are grouped.
Sao Paolo overwhelmed Santos, 21-12, in the Rio de Janeiro Masters final while Bucharest battled Novi Sad on even terms before succumbing, 16-14, in the Prague Masters title game.
Taking a long hard look at the NBA-type players from the Chicago Masters, Guevarra said, “Kunan natin picture, si Kevin Love at Tracy McGrady ata yung mga yon e.”
Two of Doha’s players returned from the Incheon Asian Games injured, forcing the Qataris to pull out of the 3x3 Finals and opening up a spot for Jakarta of Indonesia, the team Manila West narrowly beat in a raucous semifinals, 18-14, in the Fiba Manila Masters.
Guevarra is unfazed by the towering opposition, however.
“Di lang naman nakukuha sa puro laki yan e. Kailangan naming magtulungan, magka-isa dapat yung tatlong nasa loob, magkaintindihan,” he said. “Kailangan iniikot ang bola mabuti, teamwork at alam ng bawat isa ang ginagawa ng kasama niya.”