Defending champion Manila West and Manila North each scored contracting victories to start their campaign in the FIBA World 3×3 preliminary round on Saturday at the Orosa Atrium of Robinson’s Place in Malate Ermita, Manila. Globalport’s shooting guard Terrence Romeo scored 12 points while forward Aldrech Ramos blocked three shots as he powered Manila West to a 21-18 win over the taller Auckland of New Zealand.
On then other hand, Calvin Abueva powered Manila North to a 20-18 victory opposite Beirut Lebanon in a highly physical game. The team will next play Ljubljana of Slovenia, which earlier downed Beirut, 21-12.
With its 0-2 record, Beirut has been eliminated in the quarterfinal race. Ljubljana and Manila North have both clinched slot in the quarterfinals set today, but result of their game will allow them to improve their ranking.
Manila West is playing at presstime Manila South, the Under-18 amateur team and winner of the Tatluhan by Talk ’N Text in Cebu. Romeo and company is expected to win a advance in the next stage.
“Hindi pa yan yung dapat na laruin namin, kasi iyung mga next games (in the quarterfinals) mas malalakas ang kalaban saka mas mabibilis,” said Romeo, whose won the Manila Masters a year ago by beating Doha Qatar to clinch a spot in the World Tour in Sendai, Japan.
“We’ll adjust. Nakaka-shoot kami sa labas so ok yun, pero dapat on defense, help defense mas malakas pa dapat. Saka kasama na yung physical [game], normal iyun, kailangan lang focused,” added Romeo.
Manila West was ahead 17-11, but Auckland cut the deficit to two points, 20-18. Romeo got the rebound off his own missed jumper and pulled up for a jump shot to give his team the win.
The FIBA 3x3x tournament format has each game played in 10 minutes and with a race-to-21 system.
Manila North, which was eliminated in in the quarterfinals by Doha in last year’s Manila Masters, took a 10-3 lead a layup by Troy Rosario, but Beirut tied the score at 17-all on a jump shot by Alaa El Din Arnaout with 54 seconds left to play.
Abueva, who is experiencing headache, scored a hook shot to make it 18-17 advantage. Beirut missed a shot and Vic Manuel was sent to the foul line for two free throws.
Manuel, who played for Manila North in this same event last year, converted two free throws to make it 20-18, and Beirut missed a potential trying two-point shot from the rainbow territory.
FIBA 3×3 World Tour Champion Novi Sad Al Wahda also won its first game as it downed Medan Indonesia, 21-8, while Doha, the team that Manila West edged for the Manila Masters title last year, defeated Kobe Japan, 21-12.
After the Manila Masters – the first leg of the FIBA 3X3 World Tour – the next tournament is in Prague in Czech Republic (Aug. 8-9), Beijing in China (Aug. 15-16), Lausanne in Switzerland (Aug. 28-29), in Mexico (Sept. 9-10) and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (Sept. 26-27).
The FIBA 3X3 World Tour final is set in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Oct. 15-16 with the champion winning $200,000.