Expect PBA 3×3 players to comprise the national team pool soon.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas 3×3 program director Ronnie Magsanoc said that the federation plans to do so for Gilas Pilipinas 3×3, now that the league will get the ball rolling starting November 20 after much anticipation.
“Kami’y nananalangin na mula sa hanay ng mga manlalarong ito, na pioneers na maituturing, dito na tayo makakakuha para sa hinaharap,” he said during the league’s groupings draw and media conference, Saturday.
“At, ‘yan ay hihimayin natin nang husto to get the best possible roster, of course with the blessing of the PBA Board and the SBP. ‘Yan talaga ang plano,” furthered the cage legend, who’s been at the helm for over three years now.
The PBA is no stranger to lending players to the 3×3 cause.
It could be remembered that some of its stars such as Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Troy Rosario, Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, and KG Canaleta played for the Manila teams in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour a few years ago.
Aside from the pro circuit, the league loaned cagers to the national team, like what it did back in 2019 when Mo Tautuaa, CJ Perez, Jason Perkins, and Chris Newsome gave the country gold in the Southeast Asian Games 3×3.
The San Miguel Beer tandem of Tautuaa and Perez was later on included in the Gilas 3×3 team for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament last May, although the 6-foot-8 big man didn’t play due to a neck injury.
They served as reinforcements to the Nationals that were spearheaded by now-PBA rookies Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, then the country’s top two players according to the FIBA 3×3 rankings.
“Maski noon pa man, ‘yung suporta sa Gilas program, nandoon na. Kahit sa 3×3, suportado ng PBA Board ang 3×3 program,” said Magsanoc. “Katulad nitong nakaraan sina Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Moala Tautuaa, at CJ Perez represented the country in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“Hindi tayo pinalad, pero umiikot ang oras papunta sa 2024.”
The Philippine 3×3 team’s pool, at that time, was mainly composed of players from the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, since the top 10 Filipino players were all part of the first-ever 3×3 league in the country.
Two players from the four-man national team in Olympic tournaments should come from the top 10.
“Tanging limampu na top 3×3 players, doon lamang ang basehan … At ang ating plano, kasama ng ating misyon, na sa hanay ng PBA 3×3 manggagaling ang Top 50 ranked players sa buong bansa,” Magsanoc explained.
SBP Director of Operations Butch Antonio also couldn’t wait to see that happen sooner, especially now that Gilas 3×3 will have itself a busy year ahead with major competitions like the SEA Games and the Asian Games.
“Talagang ang tinitingnan natin dito is ‘yung national team participation,” the many-time Gilas team manager said. “Especially ngayon, supposed to be ang forward thinking natin ngayon supposed to be the 2024 Olympics.
“For the SEA Games and the Asian Games–lalo na sa SEA Games sigurado, we have a championship to defend. And the Asian Games we are also talking to people concerned to find out how it goes na maka-qualify for the Asian Games.
“And ang pinakamaganda pong nangyayari is we are working with the PBA, we are working with FIBA, and FIBA and the PBA are also working together to make sure that we get the most out of the PBA 3×3,” he added.