December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Team Philippines splits day assignments at 3x3 World Cup

THE PHILIPPINE 3x3 team settled for a split in its opening salvo at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup currently happening in Nantes, France.

The Filipinos emerged victorious in their opening game in Pool B early yesterday morning over Romania, 21-15, before bowing to host France hours later in their second game, 22-11.

Bannered by collegiate standouts Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng, US collegiate campaigner Kobe Paras and Philippine Basketball Association veteran JR Quiñahan, the Philippine team, backed by Chooks-to-Go, now lies in third place with its day output.

France (2-0) and Slovenia (2-0) lead Pool B after sweeping their first two games, while running fourth and fifth, respectively, are Romania (0-2) and El Salvador (0-2).

Tournament format calls for the top two teams in each of the four pools advancing to the quarterfinals.

While he is the youngest in the tournament at 19 years old, Mr. Paras did not waste much time proving his worth in the men’s competition.

He led the Philippines in its victory over Romania with 12 points, in a match that saw him draining clutch baskets down the stretch, including a dagger two-point shot with 30 ticks to go that put the game out of the reach of the Romanians, 19-13, before finishing things off with two free throws.

Mr. Ravena also came up big for Team Pilipinas with his vaunted isolation game coming in handy as they created separation from their opponents in the homestretch.

In its second game of the day against France, however, the Philippines found the going tough.

Up against a taller and bigger French side, the Filipinos just could not create much headway and trailed nearly throughout the match.

The Philippines led 2-1 after a Quiñahan basket but that was the last time Team Pilipinas would see the lead as France sprinted and left its counterpart eating the dust.

Big man Charles Bronchard and guard Dominique Gentil paced the French whose solid defense afforded them much distance to coast to the victory.

Team Pilipinas wraps up its preliminary assignments early Wednesday morning against Slovenia first and El Salvador later.

In the ongoing FIBA 3x3 World Cup, the Philippines is angling to better its performance from last year in Guangzhou, China, where it failed to advance from the preliminaries. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo