Gilas 3x3 quartet gets to work as Stojacic replaces Magsanoc
MANILA, Philippines – New Philippine 3x3 basketball coach Stefan Stojacic said there’s more work to be done a day after unveiling the final roster for the Olympic 3x3 Qualifying Tournament.
Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, CJ Perez, and Mo Tautuaa will lead the country’s historic bid for a slot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the qualifiers set in Bengaluru, India from March 18 to 22.
"This is the first practice that we have all the players that are part of the OQT,” said Stojacic, the 2018 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Most Valuable Player who also coached China.
“I am happy about that because it is still one month before the tournament. I think we still have enough time to cover everything.”
Stojacic said the level of play in the Southeast Asian Games, a tournament that saw Perez and Tautuaa win a 3x3 gold, is a different animal compared to what they will face in India.
"CJ and Mo are new players in 3x3. They played in the SEA Games but that tournament is totally different from the international level of playing 3x3. But they have quality, very good players. Now, we have to change their mindset to 3x3," said Stojacic, who replaced Ronnie Magsanoc.
"There is a lot of work to be done because of their lack of experience in playing 3x3 and how the game is different than 5-on-5. We have a month more to prepare them for the 3x3 game.
"They are for sure going to be a competitive team. The OQT is going to be really hard. A lot of work in front of us," he added.
And it showed during Gilas 3x3's tune-up games.
The Nationals bowed to the all-star team of Vrbas' Marko Brankovic (world No. 50), Ralja's Nebojsa Kilijan (No. 75), Belgrade's Vladimir Trajkovic (No. 116), and ex-Basilan import Marcus Hammonds (US No. 16), 13-16, to open the day.
Though eking out a 16-14 win over local top 10 players Troy Rike, Karl Dehesa, Franky Johnson, and Chris De Chavez, Gilas 3x3 absorbed a 9-11 loss to the visitors to cap the day.
That is why Munzon, the Philippine’s top-ranked 3x3 player, and No.2 Pasaol will have huge responsibilities on their shoulders, according to Stojacic.
"Alvin is going to be the glue guy here. He is going to connect all of them together. Also Josh. Josh is going to be the biggest influence," said Stojacic.
"All of them are great but Alvin and Josh are going to be the biggest influence. That is my opinion after just the first practice."
Stojacic said despite the short amount of time left for them to prepare, he plans on building the chemistry among all 4 players.
"I'm here to put them together to play 3x3 on an international level and how they will be competitive for the OQT,” he said – Rappler.com