The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) made the announcement Wednesday while also noting that the request to allow the quartet of Terrafirma’s Joshua Munzon, Meralco’s Alvin Pasaol, and San Miguel’s CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa to start practicing was “received favorably by the P(BA).”
Also included in the training camp are Rain or Shine rookie Leonard Santillan and free agent Karl Dehesa, both listed as reserve players for the OQT that will run from May 26-30 in Graz, Austria.
“The SBP thanks commissioner Willie Marcial, the P(BA) Board of Governors, and the mother teams of the five players for their support. All the players and coaches, led by SBP 3×3 program director Ronnie Magsanoc, have started the protocols necessary to enter the training ‘bubble’ and will start practices next week,” said SBP president Al Panlilio in a statement.
Gilas 3×3 will leave for Austria a week before the tournament which will feature 20 teams divided into four groups. Up first for 20th-ranked Philippines on May 26 is no. 26 Qatar at 8 p.m. (Manila time) and then no. 3 Slovenia at 9:45 p.m.
Perez and co. will have a full day of rest before battling no. 33 Dominican Republic on May 28 at 6 p.m. and no. 11 France at 8:15 p.m. to wrap up the group stages.
The top two from each group advance to the knockout stages to be held on May 30. Only the top three teams in the tournament will claim a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
“We believe that the Philippines will have a competitive team in Austria. It’s a big challenge to upset teams ranked in the Top 10 of 3×3 in Slovenia and France, but we have a good combination of skill, speed, size, and strength to give them a run for their money,” expressed Panlilio, full of confidence.
“We may be ranked ahead of Qatar and the Dominican Republic, but we can’t count them out either. It’s good to get this chance to prepare so our players can get back into game shape and develop chemistry,” he added.