Gilas 3×3 squad faces huge odds in Austria
Coach Ronnie Magsanoc knew the odds that his team was facing before departing for competition.
“The destination is the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The biggest hump is in Graz. The road map is tough,” Magsanoc said then.
Those odds just got longer.
In fact, Gilas Pilipinas’ 3×3 squad no longer has its fate in its hands in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Graz, Austria. Back-to-back losses to open the tournament made sure of that.On Friday, the team will need to sweep its two remaining matches in Pool C of the qualifiers—one against Dominican Republic and another against France—and hope the results in other matches go their way, too.
On top of that, Joshua Munzon, CJ Perez, Mo Tautuaa, Leonard Santillan and Alvin Pasaol somehow have to collect 21 points each in both matches and hope for France to total no more than 24 in its next two games to advance to the quarterfinals.
And its prior matches have hardly been a reason to be optimistic.
Out of sync
Gilas looked out of sync in Wednesday’s opener, finding itself in holes as deep as 7 points in a 21-12 loss to the Qataris.The Nationals then absorbed a 21-11 beatdown in the hands of No. 4 Slovenia, which took advantage of its heft and international experience.
Even if it succeeds in notching those victories, including a rout of France, Gilas will have to hope that Qatar bests the higher-ranked French squad in a battle of unbeaten teams, then topple world No. 4 Slovenia to force a logjam in the middle.
The Philippines takes on Dominican Republic at 5:50 p.m. then France at 7:55 p.m., both matches available by way of streaming courtesy of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilpinas’ (SBP) official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/samahangbasketbolngpilipinas/).
“All we have been praying for since Day 1 is a fighting chance,” said Magsanoc, who is also the SBP’s program director for 3×3.