Coming off a winless campaign in the 2021 FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was able to identify key factors that will help improve its 3×3 basketball program heading into the new Olympic cycle and beyond.
But before moving forward, the federation made sure to express its gratitude for the sacrifices made by Gilas Pilipinas 3×3; namely, Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, Santi Santillan, CJ Perez, and Mo Tautuaa; the coaching staff; and practice players.
“First of all, we’re glad that our Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 Men are back home safely from their stint in Graz, Austria,” said SBP special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio,
“The SBP is appreciative of the sacrifices by our Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 Men, from the training pool members; to the coaches and the staff; to our five representatives who flew to Austria, because what they went through was not easy.”
The global tournament held in Graz, Austria was an eye-opener for the SBP on how top-tier national teams run their 3×3 programs.
FIBA rules state that for the Olympics and its qualifying tournaments, federations must field a team that includes two top 10 players. They can be reinforced by two unranked players at the most.
Gilas 3×3 fielded no. 1 Munzon, no. 6 Santillan, along with 5-on-5 pros Perez and Tautuaa.
In contrast, almost all the teams that made it to the final eight of the tournament had players that have been playing in the World Tour circuit.
The SBP is now looking to identify talents this year who will be full-time 3×3 players. The federation is hoping to let this team mature and grow together in domestic leagues, as well as the international pro circuit.
“The first order of business is to encourage and identify 3×3 players who will be dedicated to the 3×3 discipline, while also taking advantage of the flexibility of FIBA in terms of eligibility in 3×3,” Gregorio explained.
“We know that there are a lot of good players out there who have Filipino blood, but probably won’t be able to play in the PBA due to the current rules. So it will be up to us in the federation to look for these talents and show them that a career in 3×3 is possible in the Philippines.”
Besides building a pool, the SBP also looks to tap a European 3×3 player to serve as a consultant to the program.
Asian nations like China and Qatar had tapped Stefan Stojacic and Dusan Bulut, respectively, for their programs. China qualified for Tokyo, while Qatar impressed in the OQT.
“Although we have talented players, 3×3 is a different game altogether. So it is a top priority for the SBP to identify a 3×3 specialist from a top-ranked country that could help with our program,” Gregorio continued.
“Qatar got help from Serbia’s Dusan Bulut, the second-ranked 3×3 player in the world. So there’s a clear benefit in the transfer of knowledge, especially from European countries that already figured how to be dominant in the 3×3 game.”
Identifying and cultivating talent is one thing. Gaining points is another.
In FIBA 3×3, points are generated by being active in the pro circuit. The top 30 teams in the world by the end of an Olympic cycle will either directly punch their ticket to the Games or to the OQT.
With this, the SBP is looking to gather all local promoters and align them.
“This is important because the higher the level of 3×3 played in the PBA, the better it will be for the SBP’s whole program,” said Gregorio as the PBA is a stakeholder in the federation.
“Outside of our partnership with the PBA, the SBP always has an open line of communication and cooperation with private entities and local promoters like Chooks-to-Go to further promote 3×3 basketball.”
Finally, the federation looks to bid on hosting FIBA 3×3 national team tournaments to help promote the sport.
The last time the country hosted a FIBA 3×3 national team tournament was back in 2018. At the time, the World Cup was held at the Philippine Arena.
“The SBP has made headway in the four basketball pillars in our country, namely, Gilas Men, Gilas Youth, Gilas Women, and Gilas 3×3 Men and Women, not just by investing in our teams, but also by hosting events,” bared Gregorio.
“The SBP plans on hosting international 3×3 tournaments to help grow the sport in the country, as we know competing against the best on a regular basis will also help our players develop.”