Philippines: Basketball-crazy populace will surely make its presence felt in next three months

FIBA Photo | Terrence Romeo

In a country where basketball can be considered as a religion, it is sure thing that the Philippines’ presence will be felt in next three months, August to October 2015.

The 2015 FIBA 3×3 World Tour starts again with the Manila Masters on August 1 and 2 while the Gilas Pilipinas National Team will take their talents to 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China on September 23 to October 3.

FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters

Number one player in the Philippines 3×3, Terrence Romeo, and fellow PBA players KG Canaleta, Rey Guevarra and Aldrech Ramos will showcase their talents and will try to defend their title on the weekend festivities.

According to PBA’s scoring champion, the goal of the team is to surpass their performance in last FIBA 3×3 World Tour finals in Japan, where Manila West lost in quarterfinals.

Two other Filipino teams will play in the event, the Manila North and the Manila South.

Manila North will be bannered by Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel of Alaska Aces, sweet shooting Karl Dehesa of KIA and National University’s pro-bound Troy Rosario. Manila South will have the players from Cebu that won the Tatluhan national championship.

The possibility of having the country’s first gold medal in the Olympics is the target of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) as the FIBA pushes the inclusion of 3×3 in the Summer Games. Unlike in traditional basketball, height is not really a big deal in a 3-on-3 game. Filipinos can maximize their skills with their speed and talent.

The games will start in the Saturday afternoon in Robinsons Place Manila and live on FIBA 3×3’s Youtube Channel.

FIBA Asia Championship

Coach Tab Baldwin, Gilas Pilipinas coach, sees June Mar Fajardo as Gilas centerpiece. The 25-year old gentle giant won his second-straight MVP trophy in the PBA. “He dominates because of his size,” Baldwin said. Fajardo also noted for his improving footwork resulting to confidence in scoring high percentage around the rim.

But there is a problem.

The reported wish list of Coach Tab has been through several revisions. Some players are nursing injuries, including Fajardo, while some are not here in the Philippines.

Marc Pingris left the country for an emergency trip to France. Jones Cup MVP LA Tenorio begged off from consideration citing fatigue and poor form. Paul Lee is in a US-trip. Marcio Lassiter will visit his ill mother abroad.

The only players have committed, according to Snow Badua’s article, are Terrence Romeo, Beau Belga, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, and Calvin Abueva, who is not originally on 26-player wish list.

If Coach Tab cannot get the players he wanted, we Filipino fans should not expect winning the qualifying spot for 2016 Olympics.