THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is not discounting the possibility of fielding PBA players to the Asia-Pacific leg of the Fiba 3x3 World Tour to be held in Tokyo in October.
Sonny Barrios, executive director of SBP, said on Tuesday the event set in Manila in July, will be composed of 12 teams, including three from the Philippines.
Barrios said one slot is already for the winner of the Philippine Under-18 3-on-3 Championships in May 24-25, while another slot may be opened to the team of Kobe Paras, Prince Rivero ,and Alvin Tolentino that won the Fiba Asia 3-on-3 crown in 2013.
The third slot, the former PBA commissioner added, is available to any team that can represent the country well in the Asia-Pacific leg and secure a slot to the World Tour in October.
There will be other legs to be played in Beijing, Chicago, Lausanne, Rio de Janeiro, and Prague, with the top two teams in each leg moving on to the World Tour.
“We can assemble a PBA team, D-League team, or a collegiate team for the third slot,” Barrios told the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Also gracing the weekly forum were Fiba 3-on-3 events manager Ignacio Soriano of Spain, SBP deputy executive director Bernie Atienza, SBP consultant Moying Martelino, Smart Sports executive Epok Quimpo, and SBP legal counsel Aga Francisco.
Barrios, however, clarified that everything is up in the air as far as the composition of the third team is concerned.
“It being July either the PBA is finished with the third conference or if it is still ongoing only two teams are left playing in the finals,” said Barrios, meaning players from the eliminated teams can see action in the 3-on-3 event.
“So is it possible? I really don’t know,” said the SBP executive.
Soriano said the Fiba 3x3 World Tour is open to all players, and that in the World Tour it’s even possible to see LeBron James or Kobe Bryant playing for the United States.
“In the World Tour the average age is 35 years old. It’s not about the age and height but the skills,” said Soriano.
The hosting of the World Tour was originally offered by Fiba-Asia to the Philippines following its highly-successful staging of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship last August.
Gilas Pilipinas wound up second behind Iran in the Fiba-Asia and earned a slot to the World Championship in Spain in August.
But Barrios said the SBP had to decline the offer so it could focus on the World Championship and the Asian Games in Incheon in September.
Barrios said it was best for the SBP headed by Manny V. Pangilinan, to decline the hosting of the Fiba 3x3 World Tour.