Manila North draws Qatar, Slovenia teams in FIBA World 3x3

MANILA, Philippines - The Calvin Abueva-led Manila North team face veteran 3-on-3 teams from Qatar and Slovenia, needing to beat at least one of them to make the knockout round of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final that gets underway today in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Vic Manuel, Karl Dehesa and incoming PBA rookie Troy Rosario team up with Abueva in the Phl squad looking to improve on Manila West's fifth-place finish in Sendai, Japan last year.

Manila North is ranked 12th and last in the two-day meet based on accumulated individual rankings of the four Filipino players. They have poor rankings since they're not yet really exposed on 3-on-3 events.

But organizers consider the Filipinos a team to watch as they even put Abueva atop the list of players who are likely to make good impression in the tourney.

They put into consideration Abueva's role in Gilas Pilipinas' silver-medal finish in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha.

But, of course, 3-on-3 is different from 5-on-5, and Manila North faces in group plays the Doha and Kranj teams with rich experiences in this novel event.

Doha, the 2013 champ, is seeded fourth now with a team featuring Yaseen Musa, Tanguy Ngombo, Dominic James and Sammy Monroe II.

The 6-foot-6 Musa, 35 and a member of the Doha world champion team, has a high individual ranking of No. 13 with a total of 115 games played.

The 6-foot-4 Ngombo, an NBA draftee, is No. 3 in Qatar and No. 18 in the world.

Kranj is right behind Doha in the team rankings, with three players ranked 22nd or better individually.

The Slovenian team is made up of 6-7 Jure Erzen, 6-3 Jaka Hladnik, 6-0 Boris Jersin and Mensud Julevic. Erzen, 40, is the team's most experienced player with 156 3-on-3 games played.

The other teams are UAE's Novisad AlWahda (No. 1), Slovenia's Ljubljana (2) and Trbovlje (3), Poland's Kolobrzeg (6), Brazil's Santos (7) and Rio (8), Lithuania's Vilnius (9), and the United States' Denver (10) and NY Harlem (11).

The 12 teams are divided into four groups of three teams each. The top two from each group advance to the quarterfinals.              

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