FOUR Philippine teams, two of which to be reinforced by PBA players, will compete in the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Tour Asia Pacific leg on July 19-20 at the SM Megamall.
Twelve teams from the region including 3x3 world champion Qatar are set to compete in the first-ever 3x3 leg to be staged in the Philippines.
Also competing are two teams from Indonesia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, and Lebanon in one of six stops of the World Tour before culminating in the finals set October 11-12 in Tokyo.
Focus, however, will be on the four local teams as they hope to make waves in the event to be hosted by the country for the very first time.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan explained no less than FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann offered the hosting rights to the country.
“I told Mr. Baumann that we will readily host the event because we value the relationship with Fiba. This is something the country should not miss,” said Pangilinan during the event’s press conference on Tuesday at the SM Megamall, site of the two-day event.
SBP executive director Renauld ‘Sonny’ Barrios said Alaska forward Calvin Abueva has already committed to play in one of two PBA teams competing. Last year’s Under-18 national team composed of Arvin Tolentino, Thirdy Ravena, Kobe Paras, and Prince Rivero are also being eyed to join.
The Naga City Titans that won the national 3x3 tournament will also see action in the competition.
“One of the teams that we want to re-assemble is the Under-18 world qualifier team of coach John Flores. The other two teams, we are looking at forming them with PBA players since PBA will no longer have a season at that time,” said Barrios.
The SBP executive said the association is still in negotiations with PBA teams and players as to who will play for the country in the event, but divulged Abueva has already agreed to suit up.
“Calvin Abueva will be one of them,” said the former PBA commissioner.
Barrios said the SBP is intent on sending the best possible squad as the champion team in the Asia Pacific leg will compete in the Tokyo final.
“Rest assured that we will come up with the best team assembled,” Barrios said.
FIBA 3x3 events manager Ignacio Soriano looks forward to the Philippine hosting the World Tour leg, while emphasizing that Filipinos have a great chance at making it big in the world stage.
“For us, the Philippines is one of the biggest potential in 3x3. They put a lot of effort in this discipline. FIBA will keep supporting.
“It’s not about height, it’s about skills. It’s a dynamic game and fast-paced,” Soriano said.
Usually held outdoors, Soriano said the Philippine hosting will mark the first time the 3x3 event will be held in the malls.
“This is the first time it will be held indoors. I hope it will be a great success,” said Soriano.