BOCAUE, Philippines — The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas looks to use Team Phl’s worthy showing in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup as impetus towards its drive in making the Olympics in 2024, if not 2020.
Encouraged by what he saw in the Philippine Arena event, SBP president Al Panlilio said they would create a road map that is separate to its plans and programs with Gilas Pilipinas.
“The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is tight but there’s still a window of opportunity, so why not try to grab it. But if not 2020, let’s try 2024,” said Panlilio, encouraged by the showing of Christian Standhardinger, Stanley Pringle, Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy in the World Cup.
“I can count the number of days they’re together in practice. As Christian was saying ‘if we had one tournament before this, we could’ve made it.’ The learning curve was short but our guys improved game by game,” said Panlilio.
“Even with the injuries (to Standhardinger), short period of training and everything, it could’ve been 4-0,” the national cage federation chief added.
Team Phl narrowly missed the knockout round after stirring triumphs over Russia (19-12) and Brazil (15-7) and close losses to Mongolia (17-21) and Canada (19-20).
The Phl ladies team also had a fine showing, especially pint-sized lead gun Janine Pontejos who cracked the Top 10 in scoring with her four-game total of 27 points.
“We’ll put up a plan for follow through,” said Panlilio on their move after their successful hosting of the World Cup.
“The 2020 Olympics will be tough because we’re way behind. Only eight teams play in the Olympics. Five will be based on rankings. Two slots will be disputed in a qualifier in May and one in the last qualifier in June,” Panlilio also said.
A good model is Mongolia which has dedicated a team playing 3x3 year round for a long while now. “That’s why they’re No. 5 in the world and may gain automatic entry in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Panlilio.
The initial SBP plan is to pursue a grassroots program and put up an elite team that will compete in international competitions.
“We already have our 3x3 tournaments. The SBP has the Pambansang Tatluhan. There’s the Ginebra 3-on-3, the PBA 3-on-3 and others. We simply need to register with FIBA to earn points,” said Panlilio.
“For the elite, ideal is to keep Standhardinger, Pringle, Rosario and Pogoy, but I understand that they have their teams in the PBA and we can’t always disrupt the PBA schedule,” Panlilio added.
The challenge is putting up a 3x3 pool of players who will dedicate themselves in the sport. That’s the case for among the most successful teams in 3x3.