Top local 3×3 players Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol will banner the Philippine men’s national 3×3 basketball team that will compete in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated March next year in Delhi, India.
The Filipino-American swingman Munzon is ranked No. 1 in the country with a total of 475, 860 points while Pasaol is not far behind with 420, 940 points.
“Obviously, we need to have the top ten players in the country, especially the top two. Joshua and Alvin are most likely going to be part of the team,” said Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league commissioner Eric Altamirano during a news conference on Saturday night at the Bar One in Crowne Plaza, Ortigas, Pasig City.
Other players within the top 10 namely Santi Santillan, Karl Dehesa, Troy Rike, Dylan Ababou, Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, Chris De Chavez and Leo De Vera are being considered for the national squad that will see action in the qualifying tourney wherein three Olympic spots are at stake.
The national team should be composed of two players in the top 10 and another two within the top 50, according to FIBA rules.
“We need to clarify the rules regarding who can be the rest of the team,” said Altamirano. “As soon as we clarify the rule, we are not discounting the possibility of getting players outside the league, including the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association).”
Altamirano said the league will go all-out in its preparation for the Olympic qualifying tilt next year.
“We already have a plan to finalize it with Boss Ronald (Mascariñas, league owner). Offhand, we are giving these guys a break because they have been working hard the last nine months,” said Altamirano.
The second season of the league will start on January 2020 while overseas training for the national squad will be held in Eastern Europe and China—areas ranked high by FIBA.
The Philippines entered the qualifying tourney after emerging No. 20 in FIBA’s federation rankings with a total of 9,468,741 points, announced last Friday night in Utsonomiya, Japan.
A tough battle awaits the Filipino squad against No. 6 Slovenia, No. 10 France, No. 17 Qatar and No. 33 Dominican Republic in Pool C, with only two teams advancing to the knockout round.
The staging of the first season of the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 league along with the participation and hosting of various international competitions powered the country’s rise in the FIBA rankings.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA