Sport

Hard work pays off as Olympic dream continues for PH basketball in 3×3

Hard work pays off as Olympic dream continues for PH basketball in 3×3

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine basketball will have its long-awaited shot to be featured in the Olympic stage albeit in a 3×3 stage.

The Philippines is part of the 20-nation Fiba 3×3 Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March of 2020 and the country has a chance to be in the Olympic basketball scene again 48 years after its last appearance in Munich.

Butch Antonio, the deputy executive director of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said the Philippines’ inclusion in the OQT speaks volumes about the nation’s hard work in the 3×3 circuit.

“We’re keeping the dream alive. This is a super big deal and it has been so many years since 1972 and that was the last time we’ve been on the Olympic stage,” said Antonio in a press conference Chooks to Go organized Saturday at Crowne Plaza in Ortigas.

“With the efforts of a lot, the opportunity to dream is there,” added Antonio.

The Philippines rose through the rankings from the No. 59 spot at the start of 2019 to become world No. 20 on Oct. 31 with 9,468,741 points under its name.

The rapid rise in points was due in large part to the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 that staged Fiba-sanctioned tournaments throughout the year.

“The love for the country is there and I’m really thankful that we were able to overcome the challenges and of course I’d give credit to the players because I see how hard they’ve worked for this,” said Eric Altamirano, the league commissioner of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3.

The team, which will have country’s No. 1 and No. 2 player in Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, respectively, will hold training camps abroad.