THE PHILIPPINES seeks to add another chapter in its rich basketball history as it competes in the 2017 FIBA 3X3 World Cup from July 17 to 21 in Nantes, France. Carrying the national colors will be second generation cagers Kiefer Ravena, Kobe Paras, Jeron Teng and pro veteran JR Quinahan.
The Filipinos have been bracketed together with Romania, El Salvador, Slovenia and host France in Group B along with 15 other nations in three other groups. It will be a gruelling grind as the team is expected to play as much as twice a day leading up to the tournament finale on the 21st.
“This may not be the strongest team but we still were able to assemble the best talent available while maintaining a young core,” said Coach Eric Altamirano, who oversaw the squad’s formation and training. “We have no idea on how our opponents play because we tried looking for clips of their games on the internet so we are going to the tournament blind.”
While the odds are greatly stacked against the Philippines’ favor, the team vowed to give it their all. “With all the problems happening right now, we hope to unite all the Filipino through basketball,” said Ravena. Meanwhile, Paras is looking forward to his first stint in Senior 3X3 and will have the additional task of competing in the Slam Dunk Contest.
The team also welcomed the news that 3X3 will soon be making its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “We have been batting for the inclusion of 3X3 ever since,” added Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Deputy Executive Director Coach Bernie Atienza.
Chooks To Go, the country’s leading roast chicken chain, has thrown its support anew after backstopping the Nationals’ campaign in the recent Southeast Asian Basketball Association championships wherein the Filipinos totally stamped their class against their opponents on the way to the title. On the eve of the team’s departure for France, the company hosted a send-off party led by no less than Bounty Fresh Agro Ventures President Ronald Mascarinas.
Hours before the party, a simulation tournament to cap off their training was held at a nearby subdivision wherein several teams composed of PBA D-League players as well as a few free agents engaged the national quartet.
For sure, a good showing in France will be welcome news for all the basketball-crazy Filipino fans. It will also provide great momentum as the Philippines has been awarded the hosting rights for next year’s World 3X3 so expect greater things to pop up very soon.