BARRIOS: SBP SEARCHING FOR 3X3 ROAD TO TOKYO OLYMPICS
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.