Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 is still waiting for Alvin Pasaol to rejoin the team in its buildup for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this May in Austria.
The Philippines’ no. 2 3×3 player is still clearing health protocols according to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). Still, the federation expects him to join the Nationals in its training bubble in Laguna soon.
“He is clearing health and safety protocols,” said SBP SAP Ryan Gregorio in a message to Tiebreaker Times, Thursday.
“We expect him to join soon.”
Pasaol, who is celebrating his 26th birthday today, leads the Gilas 3×3 pool together with the no. 1 3×3 player in the country in Joshua Munzon.
Munzon and the other national team members — namely Mo Tautuaa, CJ Perez, Karl Dehesa, and Santi Santillan — have already entered Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba over the weekend. They have been training since.
The federation needs two players from the top 10 rankings in the national team lineup, along with two reinforcements. Dehesa is no. 6, while Santillan sits at 8th.
The much-anticipated OQT is only 20 days from now; the tilt takes place from May 26-30 in the city of Graz. Moreover, the nationals need to arrive in Austria earlier as they also have to clear quarantine protocols.
Gilas 3×3 program director Ronnie Magsanoc acknowledges that time is not on their side.
It also doesn’t help that he has yet to have a complete lineup at his disposal as they await Pasaol, the no. 9 pick of Meralco in this year’s PBA draft.
Despite the challenging circumstances, though, the all-time great remains grateful for the mere fact that his team has received the opportunity to practice together amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Time is not on our side, but we’re still grateful with what we have, which is being able to train together,” expressed Magsanoc, immensely thankful to both the SBP and the Philippine Basketball Association.
“Yes, masasabi ko quite challenging. Pero the mere fact that everybody is committed and sacrificed to be in the training bubble is a good launchpad. We are grateful for the time that we are being able to train together.”
Gilas 3×3 is looking to book one of the three tickets to the Tokyo Olympics, but it won’t be an easy task to fulfill.
The Filipino dribblers are in Pool C together with world no. 3 Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic. And they will have to finish in the top two of its group to advance to the knockout stages.