THE Philippines is four spots away from cracking the top 24 and earning a ticket to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for 3x3 basketball.
The country has risen to the no. 28 spot in the latest Fiba 3x3 federation rankings, amassing 6,257,888 points to now be ranked sixth in Asia.
And the Philippines is expected to continue its ascent, with the Grand Finals of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriot's Cup, presented by Coca-Cola slated on Saturday at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.
"This is great news because before when we started our league, we were down at number 60 in the world rankings," said league owner Ronald Mascarinas as the league eyes to send a Philippine team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "Four more steps up and we will get our final chance in the OQT."
The country's consistent participation in level-10 World Tour Masters and level-9 Challenger competitions boosted its standing, but the staging of the Patriot's Cup further imposed the Philippines' footprint in the 3x3 competitions.
The Patriot's Cup champion will not only bag the P1-million cash prize, but will also advance to the Fiba 3x3 World Tour Jeddah Masters in October. The runner-up, meanwhile, is set to book a ticket to the Xiong'An Challenger in August.
Phenom Basilan, Wilkins Balanga, and Gold's Gym Pasig all have legitimate chance of bagging the title which boosts the country's dream of making the cut in the top 24.
"Our job is not yet done until we make it to the top 24," said Mascarinas. "I hope you will continue to support this dream for the honor of our country."