MANILA, Philippines – After a year of hard work, Philippine 3×3 moved one step closer to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after qualifying for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in India on Friday, November 1.
The Philippine men’s team got bunched with Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic in Pool C of the OQT draw held in Utsunomiya, Japan, on Friday night.
The national team will be composed of two players from the top 10 individual rankings and two players within the top 50 or those who have the minimum number of ranking points.
Mongolia, Poland, Brazil, Turkey, and Spain will duke it out in Pool A, while Pool B will feature the battle among USA, Lithuania, Belgium, South Korea, and New Zealand. Pool D will pit Netherlands, Latvia, Canada, Croatia, and host India.
Only the top 3 countries in the OQT will move on to Tokyo for a shot at the Olympic gold medal.
Together with 4 outright clinchers – China, Serbia, Russia, and host Japan – and one winner from the universality-driven OQT, a total of 8 federations will battle it out for glory in 3×3 basketball’s inaugural Olympic staging.
Just a sub-50 ranked country at the start of the year, the Philippines leapt all the way to the top 20 for OQT consideration, largely thanks to the efforts of pioneering 3×3 league Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.
Led by Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, and numerous other Filipino basketball stars, Chooks 3×3 racked up significant ranking points through 3 Level 7 tournaments in the FIBA scale: the President’s Cup, the Patriot’s Cup and the Magiting Cup.
The league’s top stars were sent to various Level 9 Challenger tournaments and Level 10 World Tour events throughout the year. The country also hosted the world’s first-ever Super Quest last April, a Level 8 tourney, and the country’s first-ever Challenger tournament last September 7.
To make sure that the Philippines held on to its top 20 status until the November 1 deadline for points, Chooks-to-Go held the Level 5 MelMac Cup, a 14-leg tourney where players grinded almost daily for those last-minute marks.
As a tuneup for the national team, the 2020 season of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 will open this January.
The country’s women’s 3×3 team was in contention for OQT qualification until the final week but was ultimately leapfrogged by other federations before the deadline. – Rappler.com