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Tokyo stint âvery realisticâ for Gilas 3x3
The Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 contingent with coach Stefan Stojacic
Courtesy of Chooks-to-Go

Tokyo stint ‘very realistic’ for Gilas 3x3

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PBA veteran Karl Dehesa said yesterday the Philippine 3x3 team has “very realistic” chances to book a ticket to Tokyo out of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria, on May 26-30 and as an alternate, vowed to do his best to push the players at practice. Dehesa was named an alternate with Santi Santillan to back up Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Mo Tautuaa and C. J. Perez. The six players checked in for a one-week training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba last Saturday.

“We believe we can do it, that’s key for us,” he said. “We wouldn’t be in this position if we didn’t think we could make it. Anything can happen but we know nothing is easy and it’ll take a lot of hard work. I believe in my teammates, they’re great players. Josh is a fierce competitor, fearless and will have a long career in the PBA. Mo’s our anchor, everybody loves the big guy, he’s reliable on defense, we trust him, he’s got our back. Alvin is gritty, tough, has a high basketball IQ in terms of positioning and using his strengths, like his body, to advantage. C. J. is skilled, can score from anywhere and I’m impressed with his poise. Santi is like a unicorn, unorthodox, gets the job done, down the road in the PBA, he’ll enjoy a career like Ranidel de Ocampo, he has length, can shoot the three and hit the mid-range floater.”

Dehesa said he’s not sure if as an alternate, he’ll go to Austria. “I don’t know what the plan is but I’m doing what I can to help,” he said. “If they call my name, I’ll be ready. In 3x3, my best experience was playing in the 2016 FIBA World Cup in Guangdong with Mac Belo, Glenn Khobuntin and Russel Escoto. But my best finish was second place in the 2015 3x3 Manila Masters with Troy Rosario, Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva.” Dehesa has played 3x3 in Jeju, Moscow, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Hongxiang, Jeddah and Bucharest to blossom into one of the Philippines’ top 10 FIBA-rated players.

“3x3 is a major adjustment from 5x5,” he said. “It’s a shorter game but physically taxing with a streetball, raw feel. It’s not as physical as it used to be but players have gotten better. I think they’re cleaning it up to make the game more appealing as an Olympic event. I’m hoping to play in the PBA 3x3 league. Two or three teams have contacted me but I’m still deciding. It’ll be great to be back in the PBA.”

Dehesa, 33, was unsigned after Alaska picked him on the third round in the 2012 draft. He played for Kia/Mahindra, GlobalPort and Phoenix from 2014 to 2018, averaging 6.3 points in 101 games. Before hooking up with Kia as a practice player, Dehesa saw action in the ABL and D-League. “In 2018, I could’ve played for Alaska but they already had five Fil-Ams and were successful in what they were doing,” he said. “I thought of going back to the US but the Philippines is home for me and my family. My wife is from San Francisco but has lived in Manila for 13 years. We met in Manila and I’ve lived here for 10 years. We have two kids, one seven and the other two. We love it in Manila, we’re settled in. I do a basketball training service for kids when I’m not playing and it’s gratifying to share my journey and give back. I’m grateful to my coaches Rob Wainwright, Chris Gavina and Chito Victolero for believing in me and my teammates Matt Wright, Jason Perkins, Willie Wilson, J. C. Intal, Justin Chua, Doug Kramer and especially Mark Yee who taught me how to work around the basket.”

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