THE national men’s 3×3 team is now in the homestretch of its preparation for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) happening in Austria next week.
The Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 crew is currently at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, polishing its collective game to put itself in better position to snatch one of three Olympic spots up for grabs in the OQT.
The team, which is composed of Philippine Basketball Association players CJ Perez, Mo Tautuaa, Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol and Leonard Santillan and free-agent Karl Dehesa, resumed its “bubble” training this week after taking a temporary break to work on the papers needed to fly to Graz for the OQT slated for May 26 to 30.
“In terms of effort, I really could not ask for anything more from the players during our first week of training, and they also did their best to build on that with our online training sessions,” team coach Ronnie Magsanoc was quoted as saying by the official PBA website.
“Now, it’s about bringing everything together and forming a team that we can be proud of, a team that can compete against the best in the world.”
The team is also grateful for the support it has been getting from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), allowing it to set up camp despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
In the OQT, the nationals play in the tough Pool C, which also has Slovenia (Europe Cup 2016 winner), France (second at Europe Cup 2019), Qatar (2014 World Champ), and the Dominican Republic.
Tournament format calls for each team playing the other four in their respective pools. The top two teams from each pool qualify for the crossover quarterfinals and then play knockout games all the way to the semifinals.
The semifinals and the third-place games will be known in the FIBA 3×3 OQT as the Olympic Ticket games.
The Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 team is set to leave for the tournament on Sunday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo