Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - @ftjo­choaINQ By Fran­cis T. J. Ochoa

With 3x3 basketball al­ready in­cluded in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ex­pect sev­eral coun­tries to take the event a little more se­ri­ously, Sama­hang Bas­ket­bol ng Pilip­inas ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Sonny Bar­rios said Thurs­day.

That in­cludes the Philip­pines, which is hop­ing to find a route to Tokyo, and hoop pow­er­house United States, which has been luke­warm in its ap­proach to the event.

“That’s a gold medal al­ready for the US so if they’re chas­ing the over­all count, don’t be sur- prised if they send out their big guns,” Bar­rios told the In­quirer.

The Philip­pines will host the World Cup of the event from June 8 to 12 and Bar­rios said the SBP is look­ing for ways to qual­ify for the Olympics.

There are three routes to Tokyo via 3x3: The top five coun­tries in the world in the event are au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fied. There will be an Olympic qual­i­fy­ing event that will award two Olympic berths and an­other qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment fea­tur­ing coun­tries that haven’t played full-court basketball in the last two edi­tions of the Sum­mer Games.

“(SBP) pres­i­dent (Al) Panlilio made it clear that we should make the Olympics our goal,” Bar­rios said.

The top five teams in the world in the men’s divi­sion are Ser­bia, Slove­nia, Rus­sia, Latvia and Brazil. The women’s top five are China, Ukraine, An­dorra, Hun­gary and Venezuela. The United States ( men’s No. 13, women’s No. 19) isn’t highly rated in the world be­cause it rarely fields teams in Fiba 3x3 events.

Ser­bia has been very ac­tive in the 3x3 scene. In fact, in the men’s in­di­vid­ual rank­ings, the top eight play­ers on the list are all from Ser­bia, led by world No. 1 Dejan Ma­js­torovic.

The Philip­pines, which will field Chris­tian Stand­hardinger, Troy Rosario, RR Po­goy and Stanley Pringle to the World Cup, is cur­rently ranked 56th in the men’s divi­sion and 47th in women’s.

A to­tal of 40 teams, 20 in each divi­sion, will par­tic­i­pate in the World Cup that will be played at Philip­pine Arena.

“We’re al­most done with prepa­ra­tions and we’ve left no stone un­turned to make sure we have a great host­ing and a great event so peo­ple can en­joy watch­ing the games,” said Bar­rios.

Chris­tian Stand­hardinger.

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