3x3 restart linked to Olympic bid

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — There’s a factor of timing in the appeal to restart 3x3 training for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) to be held in Graz, Austria, on May 26-30 next year as the Philippine team hopes to catch up with the rest of the world in getting ready for the battle to decide the last four entries in the eight-nation men’s competition in Tokyo.

The OQT was originally scheduled in Bengaluru, India, last March 18-22 but was reset due to the pandemic. There will be 20 countries bidding for three tickets to Tokyo in the OQT so the Philippines must place at least third to advance. If the Philippines fails to land a podium finish, it must be ranked among the top five remaining unqualified FIBA 3x3 countries to join host Hungary in the six-nation Universality tournament for the last Olympic slot. The Tokyo qualifiers so far are host Japan, China, Russia and Serbia.

Chooks To Go 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano recently submitted a proposal to SBP executive director Sonny Barrios and GAB chairman Baham Mitra for inclusion in the appeal to the IATF for the step-by-step resumption of professional sports. “It’s a progressive and extensive proposal from the restart of training to the opening of games,” said Altamirano. “We borrowed strict health and safety protocols for training from the Washington Wizards and followed guidelines from FIBA and SBP.  Once the IATF allows, we’ll be ready to roll out a framework for the new normal. Stefan (Stojacic), the Serbian 3x3 coach who was helping us to prepare for the OQT until the pandemic broke out, told us that Europe has restarted practice and competition. We’re hoping that once the IATF allows our restart, we can get back on track.”

Mitra confirmed yesterday that the 3x3 proposal was included in the GAB’s appeal to the IATF to restart training for professional sports. The IATF will conduct a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the appeal with Mitra.

The 3x3 proposal involves three phases – first, individual training approach with person-equipment-person level of interaction; second, small group training with person-equipment-multiple persons level of interaction and third, full team training and competition with multiple person to person interaction with equipment and/or with other people in the setting of team sports practice or actual game.

Altamirano said with the IATF’s go-signal, the national team of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Mo Tautuaa and C. J. Perez with reserves Santi Santillan and Karl Dehesa could resume practice. Five others in the 3x3 pool will be called in for training once the IATF gives the clearance – Dylan Ababou, J. R. Alabanza, Chris DeChavez, Troy Rike and Franky Johnson.

Even as the appeal is on the table, Bounty Agro Ventures president Ronald Mascarinas said whatever is the IATF’s decision is for the good of all.  “While we are longing for sports to come back and be entertained again, our utmost priority in Bounty right now is to help flatten the curve and strengthen our economy,” said Mascarinas, the man behind the Chooks To Go brand. “We will continue to support our 3x3 national pool even if there are no games. They have always put national interest above their personal interests and fought for our country in numerous international competitions. We will not let them down in this time of crisis.” Bounty head of marketing Mel Macasaquit said the guiding principle is safety first. “The IATF knows best and we’ll abide by its decision on when to restart,” he said. “Right now, we’re on standby.”

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