TERRENCE Romeo doesn’t see an easy route to defending the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters title on the August 1-2 event at the Robinsons’ Place in Ermita, Manila.
Romeo expects a tough challenge in his team’s bid to win Manila stop of the event for the second straight time as World Tour champion Novi Sad Al Wahda of United Arab Emirates will be one of the 12 teams taking part.
Novi Sad will be the top-seed of the tournament and will have Serbian players Dusan Domovic Bulut, Dejan Majstorovic, Marko Savic, and Marko Zdero representing the UAE team.
Novi Sad beat Saskatoon of Canada, 21-11, in last year’s final held in Sendai, Japan.
“Nakita namin sila maglaro sa Japan,” said Romeo, when asked who will be the team to beat in the coming Manila Masters.
The Manila Masters will also have Ljubljana of Slovenia as the second-seed and Doha as the third-ranked. Romeo’s Manila West, who will be joined by Nino Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos, and Rey Guevarra, is seeded fourth.
Also seeing action will be the Manila North of Calvin Abueva, Karl Dehesa, Vic Manuel, and Troy Rosario, and the Manila South of Lucky Ecarma, Jair Igna, Carlo Ortega, and Joshua Sinclair.
Despite having an intact team this year, Romeo said the field has become stronger this year with the presence of stronger squads including Novi Sad.
“Hindi ko masasabing madali ngayon. Last year, nahirapan kami tapos hindi pa naglaro ‘yung sobrang lalakas,” said Romeo.
But Romeo vowed to give a good fight in front of the home crowd.
“Positive lang. Kailangang lumaban dahil nandito tayo sa country natin,” said Romeo.