BOCAUE, Bulacan—The road to the knockout stage just got tougher for the Philippines in the men’s division of the Fiba 3×3 World Cup here.
Struggling to adjust to the physical play and rules of the competition, the Filipinos split their first two games, including a 21-17 defeat to Mongolia Saturday night that left their hopes of making the quarterfinals in jeopardy at Philippine Arena.
Made up of Stanley Pringle, Christian Standhardinger, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy, the hosts, who opened their bid with a 15-7 win over sixth seed Brazil, now face the daunting task of beating early leader Canada and third seed Russia on Monday to clinch their place in the knockout round.
“It was a very good start for us, but we won’t have that element of surprise in our next games,” said coach Ronnie Magsanoc after the win over Brazil which saw Pringle, Rosario and Pogoy score four points each.
“The next games will be harder because they’ve seen us play.”
True enough, the Mongolians survived an early barrage from the Filipinos before imposing their will, using their height and heft inside the paint and their outside sniping.
Not even a dazzling display from Pringle, who finished with six points, and some early outside sniping from Pogoy and Rosario, could lift the Filipinos past the experienced Mongolians, who are coming off a runner-up finish in last week’s leg of the 3×3 world tour.
Mongolia rallied from a 4-9 deficit, behind Tsenguunbayar Gotov who had seven points on three two-point shots and Delgernyam Davaasambuu, who added six points.
Rosario was hit with a technical foul for an elbow on Gotov with the Filipinos leading 9-7. Pogoy was also hit with an unsportsmanlike foul that gifted the Mongolians two free throws, tying the game at 11.
But the biggest shot of the game turned out to be the three-point play completed by Tserenbaatar Enkhtaivan off Rosario, extending the Mongolians’ lead, 19-14.
Gotov wrapped up the win with a two-pointer with 1:40 remaining as the Mongolians evened their card at 1-1 just like the Filipinos. Also at 1-1 is third seed Russia, which beat Brazil, 20-16, before losing to Canada, 20-17.
The Canadians, led by sharpshooter Steve Sir, lead Pool C with a 2-0 record after besting Mongolia, 21-15, in an earlier match.
In Pool A action, defending champion Serbia, led by 3×3 superstar Dusan Bulut, rolled to back-to-back wins at the expense of New Zealand (22-13) and the Netherlands (21-17). Kyrgyzstan stunned Romania, 20-18, in overtime to even its card at 1-1. Romania and the Netherlands are also at 1-1.
The women’s team of Jack Danielle Animam, Gemma Miranda, Afril Bernardino and Janine Pontejos looks to stay alive in the quarterfinal race as it battles Spain and Hungary Sunday.