THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has launched an aggressive program to further strengthen and invest in the national 3x3 program in the wake of Gilas Pilipinas' winless campaign in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria.
Ryan Gregorio, special assistant to SBP president Al S. Panlilio, bared a four-point program anchored on the recruitment of top players, both from here and overseas, that will be fully dedicated to the 3x3 national program.
Gregorio said the SBP will cast a net so wide that it will target Fil-foreign players who may not be able to play for Gilas in the five-a-side game due to Fiba's stringent passport rule, but can be eligible to represent the Philippines in 3x3.
“The first order of business is to encourage and identify 3x3 players who will be dedicated on the 3x3 discipline while also taking advantage of the flexibility of FIBA in terms of eligibility in 3x3,” the former PBA Coach of the Year said.
“We know that there are a lot of good players out there who have Filipino blood but probably won’t be able to play in the PBA due to the current rules so it will be up to us in the federation to look for these talents and show them that a career in 3x3 is possible in the Philippines.”
MIndful of the Graz lesson that 3x3 is an altogether different game to five-a-side, the SBP also plans to recruit specialists from the 3x3 powers in world basketball who can mentor members of the national pool.
Gregorio cited Serbia’s Dusan Bulut, the second-ranked 3x3 player in the world who spent months in Qatar coaching its 3x3 team prior to the OQT. The Qataris crushed Gilas, 21-12, in the group stage in Graz.
“Although we have talented players, 3x3 is a different game altogether so it is a top priority for the SBP to identify a 3x3 specialist from a top-ranked country that could help with our program,” Gregorio continued.
“Qatar got help from Serbia’s Dusan Bulut, the second-ranked 3x3 player in the world so there’s a clear benefit in the transfer of knowledge, especially from European countries that already figured out how to be dominant in the 3x3 game.”
The national federation also aims to take advantage of the PBA's newly launched 3x3 league, which it said can be a viable career option for basketball players who want to focus on the half-court game.
The Gilas 3x3 program can benefit greatly from the PBA league's success, Gregorio said.
“This is important because the higher the level of 3x3 played in the PBA, the better it will be for the SBP’s whole program," Gregorio said.
"Outside of our partnership with the PBA, the SBP always has an open line of communication and cooperation with private entities and local promoters like CTG to further promote 3x3 basketball,” he added.
Gregorio said the SBP also aims to use its expertise in hosting FIBA events to hold more international 3x3 competitions that can boost its player's quest for ranking points.
“The SBP plans on hosting international 3x3 tournaments to help grow the sport in the country as we know competing against the best on a regular basis will also help our players develop,” Gregorio said.
“We’re ready to move forward.”