PH 3×3 team still has ‘lot of work to be done’ ahead of OQT
MANILA, Philippines—After the Philippines men’s 3×3 team practiced together for the first time on Wednesday, head coach Stefan Stojajic admitted the team is still far from where he wants it to be.
Philippines’ top 2 3×3 players Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol and PBA pros CJ Perez and Moala Tautuaa make up the country’s team for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next month.
But despite the team’s talent and certain experience in half court game, Stojajic said it will still need time to get everyone in the perfect shape for the tournament which will feature some of the top players in the world.
“There is a lot of work to be done because of their lack of experience in playing 3×3 and how the game is different from 5×5,” said Stojajic, the 2018 Fiba 3×3 World Tour MVP and the coach of China as well. “We have a month to prepare them for the 3×3 game.”
Munzon and Pasaol are already 3×3 veterans, having represented the Philippines in several international Fiba tournaments, while Tautuaa and Perez won the gold medal for the country in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
But Stojajic said the competition in the Southeast Asian region is vastly different from what they will face in Bengaluru, India from March 18 to 22.
“CJ and Mo are new players in 3×3. They played in the SEA Games but that tournament is totally different from the international level of playing 3×3. But they have quality, very good players. Now we have to change their mindset to 3×3,” said Stojajic.
Stojajic added that it would be up to Pasaol and Munzon, who have been concentrating in the 3×3 through the year-round Chooks to Go Pilipinas 3×3 league, to get their teammates up to speed.
“Alvin is going to be the glue guy here, he’s going to connect all of them together,” said Stojajic. “Josh is going to be the biggest influence.”
“I’m here to put them together to play 3×3 on an international level and how they will be competitive for the OQT.”
The Nationals fell in their tune-up game, 16-13, against an all-star lineup of Vrbas’ Marko Brankovic (world no.50), Ralja’s Nebosa Kilijan (75), Belgrade’s Vladimir Trajkovic (116), and ex-Basilan import Marcus Hammonds (US no. 16).
“This is the first practice that we have all these players that are part of the OQT. I am happy about that because it is still one month before the tournament. I think we still have enough time to cover everything,” said Stojajic.
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