By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE Philippine squad that will be carrying the country’s flag in the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month in India is all set after the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on Tuesday named the final roster.
In a statement shared with members of the media, SBP President Al Panlilio announced the final four players who will be making up the Philippine team competing in the qualifiers set for March 18 to 22, with the end goal of earning a ticket for the Tokyo Olympic Games later this year.
The players are Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Moala Tautuaa and CJ Perez.
Messrs. Munzon and Pasaol are the country’s top two 3×3 players and a staple in the local 3×3 scene while Messrs. Tautuaa and Perez are stars in the Philippine Basketball Association who helped the Philippines win the gold medal in 3×3 in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Serving as reserves are Santi Santillan and Karl Dehesa.
The final roster was arrived at upon the recommendation of the SBP Selection Committee, chaired by Executive Director Sonny Barrios, with coaches Jong Uichico, Pat Aquino, Ronnie Magsanoc and Eric Altamirano serving as members.
The FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament is to take place in Bengaluru, which is referred to as the “Silicon Valley of India.”
The event will feature 40 teams (20 in each gender) — four pools of five teams each — and will be organized by FIBA and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs and the top three teams will qualify to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where 3×3 basketball will make its debut.
“It is an honor for the Philippines to be with the top 20 countries vying for seats at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We ask our countrymen to rally behind our Team in its quest to be part of the Olympiad,” said Mr. Panlilio.
The Philippines will open its OQT bid in Group C along with Slovenia, France, Qatar and the Dominican Republic.
In the Olympics, a total of 16 teams (eight in each gender) will be competing.
Eight of them (four in each gender) have already qualified on Nov. 1, 2019 based on the FIBA 3×3 Federation Ranking. Six additional tickets (three in each gender) will be delivered at the FIBA 3×3 OQT in Bengaluru, with the last two tickets (one in each gender) earned at the FIBA 3×3 Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Budapest, Hungary, on April 24–26 this year.