NINO Canaleta and the Manila West team will be bringing their act to Tokyo, Japan this October for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final after grinding out an 18-14 victory over Team Jakarta in their knockout semifinal play on Sunday at the Mega fashion Hall, SM Megamall.
The team, which also has Terrence Romeo, Rey Guevarra, and Aldrich Ramos as alternate, bucked a 0-4 deficit during the first two minutes of play by unleashing a vicious display of outside shooting and
strong inside plays to register the come-from-behind victory against the Indonesians.
“Siyempre excited ako maglaro sa World Tour kasi first time pa lang naman namin ito pero nag-qualify na kami,” Canaleta said, whose team became the last Manila squad standing in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour
The Manila West squad was playing unbeaten Team Doha in the Finals as of posting time.
Doha, bannered by four players standing 6-5 and above, registered a 20-15 win over Team Surabaya in the other semifinal pairing to clinch the other World Tour Final berth.
The World Tour Final is slated on October 11-12 in Japan’s capital city, barely one week before the opening of the PBA’s 40th season.
Three of the four players in the Manila West are playing under the umbrella of the Manny V. Pangilinan Group in the pro league.
Canaleta, a 6-foot-6 swingman, plays for Talk ‘N Text, Guevarra is with Meralco, while Ramos became the newest member of the MVP group after Air21’s franchise was bought last month by new team NLEX, which is also owned by the well-known businessman-sportsman.
This developed as Pangilinan said the group intends to let the players under the MVP umbrella see action in the World Tour, knowing they would be represent the country in the 3x3 competitions.
“It goes to show we’re very good at any form of basketball, and I’m glad that we were able to make it to Tokyo,” Pangilinan told sports scribes.
“At least we speak for ourselves, siguro we’ll allow them (Canaleta and Co.) to play in the World Tour Finals. Sayang naman, pinag-hirapan nila at mahirap talaga yan,” added the PLDT chairman, who currently serves as president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).