Dusan Bulut (second from left) of three-time champion Serbia poses with fellow players and officials of host Phl during the FIBA 3x3 World Cup Philippines media launch at the Seda Vertis North in QC yesterday. They are (from left) Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, Rae D Alie of Italy, Jack Animam of the Philippine team, FIBA 3x3 managing director Alex Sanchez, and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio.Joey Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines — Christian Standhardinger finally rejoined Team Philippines in practice yesterday and said he’s ready to play in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup that fires off with initial 20 games starting at 11:30 a.m. today at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Christian is back after a week of rest. Christian is ready to go,” said Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio during the official press conference of the event at Seda Hotel in Vertis North, Quezon City last night.
“Everybody in the team is excited to play. Stanley Pringle is in high spirit and so excited to wear the national colors. I think we can pull off some surprises,” Antonio also said.
Standhardinger, Pringle, Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy form the Phl men’s team that plays Brazil and Mongolia in their opening matches tomorrow.
The Phl women’s quartet of Afril Bernardino, Jack Daniel Animan, Gemma Miranda and Janine Pontejos starts its campaign against fourth-seed Netherlands at 2:50 p.m. then takes on 11th-ranked Germany at 6:40 p.m. in Group D play today.
Group plays are slated today up to Monday with the top eight in both the men’s and women’s competitions advancing to the knockout round Tuesday.
Standhardinger, Pringle, Rosario and Pogoy go up against No. 14 Canada at 4:50 p.m. then challenge third seed Russia at 7 p.m. on Monday – Day Four of the prestigious event gathering the cream of the 3x3 teams in the world.
Three-time champion Serbia, led by Dusan Bulut who is considered the LeBron James of world 3x3, leads the men’s cast. The Serbians are bunched with the Netherlands, Romania, New Zealand and Kyrgyzstan in Pool A.
“Fans can expect from us what we’ve done before,” said Bulut.
The Phl ladies face off with the Spanish belles (12th-ranked) at 4:20 p.m. then their Hungarian counterparts (No. 3) at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Today’s bill starts with the France-Argentina setto at 11:30 a.m. in Group B in women’s play. Other women’s matches in the day pit Kazakhstan versus Switzerland, Argentina opposite Kazakhstan, China against France, China versus Switzerland, Germany against Spain, Hungary opposite the Netherlands, and Hungary versus Spain.