December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Hopes of success as PHL begins 3x3 World Cup bid

THE Philippine men’s 3x3 basketball national team commences its bid in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup this weekend in Nantes, France, with everybody involved in the team expressing hopes of success and having the end view to compete well, if not, bring home the gold altogether.

Happening from June 17-21 in the historic French city of Nantes, the FIBA 3x3 World Cup will gather anew some of the top players in the world to compete and dispute the title as the “best 3x3 team in the world.”

The Philippines is parading a relatively young team, composed of collegiate standouts Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng, US collegiate campaigner Kobe Paras and Philippine Basketball Association veteran JR Quiñahan.

The team, backed by Chooks-to-Go, is coached by seasoned bench tactician Eric Altamirano.

“This may not be the strongest team that we have fielded but we were able to assemble that best talent available for the sport of 3x3. The team is young compared to the teams they will compete against at FIBA World, but in terms of skills all our players are multi-skilled, they can play outside and all of them have competed in 3x3 tournaments before. That is something we can bring to the tournament,” said Mr. Altamirano at the team’s send-off press conference on Wednesday at the Bar One in Crowne Plaza in Ortigas.

“We have been practicing in the last three weeks, at least every other day. Unfortunately, Kobe wasn’t able to practice with us much since he went to the States but the rest of the team has been practicing for the tournament,” he added.

But despite not being in full strength for most of the practice sessions, the team believes that it has willed itself to be battle-ready for the tournament.

“The team is ready and I think we prepared the team well. I am confident that these players will represent the country well,” Mr. Altamirano said.

“Before I left, Coach Eric gave me the ball that will be used for the tournament. So when I was in the States I was practicing a lot with it. And since it’s 3x3, it’s not like five-on-five that you need a lot of players to practice. So I did shoot-arounds and played as many games as possible to stay in condition,” Mr. Paras, for his part, said when asked by BusinessWorld how he made up for lost practice time with the team.

Incidentally, Mr. Paras is also set to compete in the slam dunk competition at the FIBA World Cup.

While they are expecting a tough competition in France, Mr. Ravena said they are not deterred by it and looking forward to representing the country.

“It’s an opportunity for us to represent the Philippines against the world. I always believe that 3x3 is suited for us. Hopefully we do well in this tournament and show what Filipinos can do in the sport, especially now that it has been adopted as an Olympic sport,” the former Ateneo King Eagle said.

On the part of Chooks-to-Go, it said the whole organization is rallying behind the Philippine 3x3 men’s team all the way.

“We in Chooks-to-Go, along with the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, Inc.) and Smart (Communications), are fully behind the team. And we are wishing it much success,” said Ronald Mascarinas, president of Chooks-to-Go parent Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc., in the press conference.

In the 2017 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, the Philippines will initially see action in the preliminaries in Group B against host France, Slovenia, Romania and El Salvador.

Last year, the Philippines failed to move past the preliminaries of the tournament. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo