Hope floats: Future bright for PH ‘3’ as Tokyo beckons
BOCAUE, Bulacan—The Philippines may have missed out on the playoff round of the Fiba 3×3 World Cup, but the squad feels it has laid the foundation in the chase for an Olympic berth in the event’s debut in Tokyo two years from now.
The disappointment of failing to get past the group stage last Monday was tempered by the fact that the World Cup has provided plenty of lessons on what it takes to be a solid contender in this specialized event, which has additional rules than the actual five-on-five games.
“There is promise; there is hope,” coach Ronnie Magsanoc told the Inquirer. “There is actual proof that these four players can compete together and make each other better and stay with the best teams in the world.”
The squad of Stanley Pringle, Christian Standhardinger, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario bested sixth-ranked Brazil (15-7) and third seed Russia (19-14) in pool play, where it also bowed to more experienced Canada and Mongolia.
“Imagine what can happen if we have a program in place,” said Magsanoc. “Our first real scrimmage was the game against Brazil. The first learning curve was against Mongolia. And again another lesson against Canada, before we managed to regroup and beat Russia.”
Magsanoc said the building blocks have already been established for a push for that Tokyo Olympics spot.
The Philippines’ last taste of basketball action in the Olympics came in 1972 in Munich, Germany, where the men’s team finished 13th out of 16 teams.
“That is the challenge that really gave us the excitement to be a part of this team because the Gilas program is really geared towards landing a spot in the Olympics and this might be another avenue where we can make the Olympics,” said Magsanoc.
Rosario pushed for the creation of a pool for the 3×3 event much like the Gilas program: “There’s a pool for Gilas for Fiba 5-on-5 and I think we might need the same with 3×3.”
Standhardinger would love nothing more than to keep the squad.
“Of course we’ll try to do our all but I hope that all of the organizations involved will give us the opportunity to stick together and I think we showed great promise,” he said. “You saw what this guy (Pogoy] did with the two-pointers. Amazing. He’s made for this physicality, he’s made for 3×3, Troy is made for 3×3 and nobody can stop Stanley. So I think we have a great team.”
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