Final 3X3 pool known today
Joshua Munzon
Final 3X3 pool known today
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — SBP’s 3x3 selection committee will meet at 10 this morning in the governing body’s head office at the PhilSports Complex, Pasig to finalize the players’ pool and practice schedule in preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Bengaluru, India, on March 18-22.

 The selection committee is composed of SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, SBP operations director Butch Antonio, SBP coaches academy head Joseph Uichico, 3x3 head coach Ronnie Magsanoc and Chooks To Go 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano.  

 At the moment, there are 14 players in the 3x3 pool, 10 from Chooks To Go and the four PBA veterans who took the gold medal in the men’s division at the recent Southeast Asian Games.  The 10 from Chooks To Go are Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, Santi Santillan, Dylan Ababou, Jaypee Belencion, Leo de Vera, Chris de Chavez, Gab Banal and Ryan Monteclaro. The four PBA players are C. J. Perez, Chris Newsome, Mo Tautuaa and Jason Perkins.

 Under FIBA’s 3x3 rules, eligibility isn’t as restrictive compared to 5x5. A 3x3 player has only to show a passport, regardless of when it was issued, to represent a country so theoretically, a national team may be composed of four naturalized citizens without question. In 5x5, a national team may enlist only one naturalized citizen and a player born outside of the country he is representing must have been issued his passport before turning 16.

 With the Bengaluru competition only six weeks away, there is urgency to start practice but the selection committee must initially resolve whom to call for duty. For the OQT, each national team must submit a lineup of six to be trimmed down to four usually at the managers’ meeting the day before the start of the event. Of the six, four must be in the country’s top 10 3x3 rankings and two may be unranked or random players. The Philippines’ No. 1 ranked 3x3 player is Munzon and Pasaol is No. 2. If they make it to the final four-man roster, two unranked players may be added to complete the lineup. The four PBA players are not ranked in the top 10 so any two may be included in the squad.

 The cut-off date to submit the six-man roster is Feb. 17-18. Players No. 1 and No. 2 must be in the top 10 rankings while players No. 3 and No. 4 may be unranked. Players No. 5 and No. 6 must also be in the top 10 and listed as reserves. Players No. 5 and No. 6 may be elevated to the final four lineup as replacements due to illness or injury with FIBA’s approval.

 So far, four countries have nailed spots in the men’s 3x3 division at the Tokyo Olympics – host Japan, China, Russia and Serbia. That leaves four more slots to fill. The top three finishers in the 20-team Bengaluru tournament will qualify for Tokyo and the last ticket will be awarded to the champion of the six-team Universality OQT in Budapest, Hungary, on April 24-26. Because the Philippines qualified for the Bengaluru competition, it is not eligible to play in the Universality OQT. Only the top 24 countries in FIBA’s 3x3 rankings are ticketed to play in the OQT in Bengaluru. Early last year, the Philippines was ranked No. 60 but now, it’s up to No. 20.

 Bengaluru was the site of the FIBA Asia Cup for women in 2017 and 2019 so it’s no stranger to hosting protocols. In the OQT, the Philippines is bracketed in Group C with Slovenia, France, Qatar and the Dominican Republic. There are five teams in each of the four groups. The top two finishers of every group in the eliminations will advance to the eight-team KO quarterfinals then the four survivors play in the semifinals to determine the two finalists. A playoff for third will decide the last qualifier since the top three will make it to Tokyo.

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