TERRENCE Romeo giving the country its first Olympic gold medal?
The possibility may be surreal at the moment, but the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is banking on the increasingly popular 3x3 version of the sport becoming part of the regular Olympic calendar.
At the moment, FIBA is strongly lobbying for the inclusion of 3-on-3 in the calendar of events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a move which SBP is definitely supporting.
“Who knows? It will come in 3-on-3. Malay mo si Terrence ang magbigay sa atin ng first gold sa Olympics?,” said SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.
Romeo, the prolific GlobalPort gunner, has become the face of Philippine 3x3 basketball after he led the Manila West team to the title in last year’s Fiba 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters, where he had for teammates Nino Canaleta, Rey Guevarra, and Aldrech Ramos.
The combo guard out of Far Eastern University is again expected to anchor Manila West team in the Manila Masters set August 1-2 at Robinsons Place in Ermita.
Ignacio Soriano, event manager of Fiba 3x3, said the international basketball federation is currently pushing for the event to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the hope of making it a part of the Summer Games calendar five years from now.
The 3x3 basketball event is already part of the Youth Olympic Games program and Soriano is confident the event will soon be part of the Summer Games as well.
“Fiba is is working very hard for 3x3 to be in the Summer Olympics,” said Soriano. “The main objective is in 2020.”
Barrios also hopes 3x3 will be part of the Olympics soon since the Philippines is already adept in playing the game.
“Talagang sinusuportahan natin ‘yung 3-on-3 because it puts heavy emphasis on grassroots development. ‘Yung 5-on-5, it’s very established and institutionalized. The 3-on-3 game is really in the grassroots. The idea is to institutionalize it,” said Barrios.
The 23-year-old Romeo welcomes the possibility of playing in the Olympics, although he is also open for others to carry the national colors should 3x3 basketball finally become part of the Summer Games.
“Malayo pa ‘yun. Siguro God’s will. Pero baka by that time, marami ng bata na naka-usbong na at mas tutok sa 3-on-3 na mas kayang dalhin,” said Romeo.
“Pero siyempre, kung mabigyan ng chance, karangalan ‘yun na maglaro para sa Pilipinas,” said Romeo, who will already be 28 by the year 2020.