Manila North gains Fiba 3×3 world final
The Philippines will return to the world stage despite failing to replicate its thrilling championship romp in last year’s Manila leg.
Manila North couldn’t match the scoring firepower of Novi Sad Al Wahda of United Arab Emirates and bowed to the tournament top seed, 21-14, Sunday in the championship round of the 2015 Fiba 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters at Robinsons Place Manila.
“They were really good, especially with their hustle plays,” Manila North leader Calvin Abueva said of Novi Sad, the reigning world champion that bagged the $10,000 prize.
As finalists, both Novi Sad and Manila North earned slots to the Fiba 3×3 World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 15 and 16.
“The players really showed their heart, especially the North team,” said Philippine 3×3 coach Eric Altamirano. “They thrived on effort and hustle.”
Dusan Domovic Bulut, ranked as the No. 1 3×3 player in the world, powered Novi Sad with 10 points, while Dejan Majstorovic knocked in all of the team’s four long-range shots for an eight-point total.
Vic Manuel fired six points to pace Manila North, which dethroned the Manila West squad of tournament MVP Terrence Romeo, 21-18, in the all-Filipino semifinals.
Abueva and Troy Rosario finished with four points each with Karl Dehesa rounding out the Manila North squad that surpassed its quarterfinal stint last year.
Before ousting Manila West in the Final Four, Manila North survived three straight thrillers, bundling out Team Longshi of China, 21-19, in the quarterfinals after topping the Pool B eliminations following an upset of 2013 world champion Team Ljubljana of Slovenia, 17-16, and Team Beirut, 20-18.
Despite failing to defend its title, Manila West swept the side events with Romeo ruling the three-point shootout and Rey Guevarra bagging the slam dunk crown.
NoviSad pulled away early, 7-1, and kept its distance the rest of the way with Majstorovic heating up from beyond the arc.
Manila West, composed of Romeo, Guevarra, KG Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos, reached the semifinals after disposing of China’s Longshi, 21-19, in the quarterfinals and sweeping Pool D with wins over Team Auckland, 21-18, and Manila South, 21-14.