AFTER SUSPENDING all of its competitions early this year because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, world basketball governing body FIBA had decided to update its calendar for its 3×3 2020 season, including moving the Olympic qualifying tournaments to next year.

With the Olympic Games forced to be rescheduled to next year as COVID-19 remains a growing concern, FIBA deemed it fit to push back the conduct of the 3×3 qualifiers, originally slated to be held in the first of half of 2020, to 2021 as well.

In March, FIBA 3X3 said that there would be no official 3×3 tournaments taking place before August 2020 at the earliest due to the current situation with COVID-19.

The Philippines earned a spot for the qualifiers and was set to compete in Bangalore, India, from March 18 to 22.

The quartet of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, CJ Perez, and Mo Tautuaa comprises Team Philippines, which is set to begin its campaign in Pool C along with Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic.

The end goal of the team is to win one of the three spots up for grabs in the tournament to qualify for the Tokyo Games, where 3×3 basketball is set to make its debut.

With the deferment, the team would have to wait a little longer before taking a shot at making the Games.

Supporters of the team, including long-time backer Chooks-to-Go, vowed to sustain their support in the country’s push in the sport, which has made significant strides in the last few years, as well as to the team competing in the qualifiers.

While the qualifiers were deferred, FIBA decided to scrap some 3×3 events in 2020 altogether, namely, four World Tour events (Prague, Lausanne, Los Angeles, Nanjing), FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League, qualifiers to the various Zone Cups and the FIBA 3×3 U17 Zone Cups (including qualifiers).

The basketball body, however, said it remains committed to bring 3×3 back in action and continues to work actively in the planning and organization of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour, Challengers, Women’s Series, Zone Cups and World Cups (U23 and U18) in the remainder of 2020 as well as in January 2021 if needed.

It also reiterated that it continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation on a regular basis and communicate any further updates. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo