Philippine Arena is venue for FIBA 3x3 World Cup
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said yesterday the venue for the fifth edition of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup will be the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena in Bocaue and disclosed plans of staging a festive event on June 8-12 next year.

All games involving 20 men and 20 women teams will be held at the Arena. SBP president Al Panlilio said since the final will be on Independence Day, June 12, the theme for the five-day extravaganza is proposed to be cultural in nature. Barrios said he plans to bring in rondallas, regional dance troupes and singers to turn the grounds surrounding the arena into a fun showcase of local entertainment.

Manila hosted two legs of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in 2014 and 2015 but the coming competition is the most prestigious 3x3 national team joust in the FIBA calendar. Qualification for the tournament in the men’s and women’s divisions is based on the FIBA federation rankings as of last Nov. 1. The ranking includes sport and development criteria so not only the winningest nations are represented but also the most active. The 3x3 game was introduced at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore and will make its Summer Olympic debut with eight teams in the men’s and women’s divisions in Tokyo in 2020.

Barrios said he will reach out to Bocaue Mayor Eleanor (Joni) Villanueva-Tugna to support the project. Mayor Tugna’s brother is Sen. Joel Villanueva, a former UST cager who played on the Philippine team at the SEABA Championships in Johore in 1994. 

Barrios said FIBA 3x3 managing director Alex Sanchez of Spain is arriving here next week to inspect the facilities for the World Cup. “We are very proud and honored to be hosting the FIBA 3x3 World Cup,” said Barrios. “Our two previous experiences hosting FIBA 3x3 events have been a success and 3x3 has become a centrepiece of our development program.” For his part, Sanchez said, “We are delighted to bring the FIBA 3x3 World Cup to the Philippines (and) we are positive that the SBP and the passionate Filipino fans will make it an unbelievable experience for the best 3x3 players in the world and everyone watching on all platforms.”

The 20 qualified countries in the men’s division are Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, host Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, defending champion Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Uruguay. The 20 qualified countries in the women’s division are Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, host Philippines, defending champion Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, USA and Venezuela.

The first World Cup was held in Athens in 2012 with Serbia bagging the men’s crown and the US the women’s title. The second was held in Moscow in 2014 with Qatar topping the men’s division and the US retaining the women’s championship. The third was in Guangzhou in 2016 with Serbia claiming the men’s trophy and the Czech Republic the women’s prize. The fourth was in Nantes last year with Serbia making it back-to-back in the men’s division and Russia capturing the women’s crown.

The Philippines has never participated in the women’s division in four World Cups. The men’s team of Mac Belo, Karl Dehesa, Russel Escoto and Glenn Khobuntin represented the country in 2016, finishing ninth after beating Poland, 21-8 and Romania, 21-19 and bowing to Hungary, 18-16 and Spain, 21-16. The squad of Kobe Paras, Jeron Teng, J. R. Quinahan and Kiefer Ravena played for the Philippines last year.

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