The Filipino cagers will be up against strong teams when they see action in the 2017 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 World Cup that will be held from June 17 to 21 at the Parc des Chantiers de I’ll in Nantes, France.
The Philippines is in Group B along with host France, 2016 bronze medalist and European champion Slovenia, Romania and El Salvador.
Playing in Group A are reigning two-time champion Serbia, Russia, Andorra, Egypt and Puerto Rico while the Group C teams are Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Qatar and Sri Lanka.
Last year’s runner-up United States, Netherlands, New Zealand, Indonesia and South Korea are in Group D.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals knockout stage.
Former University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo de Manila University and Jeron Teng of De La Salle University will be leading the squad together with FIBA World Championship Slam Dunk champion Kobe Paras and veteran cager JR Quinahan of the NLEX Road Warriors.
Far Eastern University standout Raymar Jose was originally included in the list but begged off as the Philippine Basketball Association D-League has already started on Thursday where he is playing for the Aspirants’ Cup titlist Cignal.
Quinahan, who got full backing from the NLEX management, took over his spot in the four-man team.
“It’s a combination of youth and experience and I think our advantage is our speed. We aim to improve our finish the last time the Philippines compete in the tournament,” said Ravena.
The Philippines wound up ninth overall in the 2016 edition of the FIBA 3×3 World Championships held at the Tianhe Sport Complex in China.
The team was third in Group C with a 2-2 record.
They beat Poland (21-8) and Romania (21-19) but lost to quarterfinalists Spain (16-21) and Hungary (16-18).