PH team confident ahead of FIBA 3X3 U18 World Championship
The Philippines faces tough competition in the FIBA 3X3 Under-18 World Championship in Kazakhstan beginning June 2, as it goes up against Hungary, Brazil, Spain, and New Zealand.
Led by standouts from National University, the team hopes to improve on its 17th place finish from last season despite the tough odds.
Naveen Ganglani reports.
Over the next few days, Joshua Sinclair, John Lloyd Clemente, Theo Flores, and Kyle Tan will represent the Philippines in the FIBA Under-18 3x3 World Championship in Kazakhstan. The Philippines, ranked 13th in the world, is in the same pool as Hungary, Brazil, Spain, and defending champion New Zealand, with only the top two advancing.
The Philippine team has its work cut out for it.
Excluding Spain, each opponent in the Philippines’ pool is ranked higher by FIBA, and with the team consisting of mostly wing players, height disadvantage will be an issue.
ERIC ALTAMIRANO, COACH PHILIPPINE TEAM: Obviously world na ito eh, so we’re expecting really a tough competition for these guys. In terms of competing against these guys, it’s going to be a tall order for them. They'll really have a tough time, honestly. But I’m sure these guys, since they know they’re going to represent the country, they’re going to give their best.
Three of the 4 players have experience playing competitive halfcourt 3-on-3 which is notably different from the usual 5-on-5 full court game in the Philippines.
JOSHUA SINCLAIR, NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER: People think because it’s less people on the court, it’s easier to play, it’s halfcourt. They think it’s not as tiring since it’s halfcourt, but actually it’s the exact opposite. Three-on-3 is a lot more tiring than 5-on-5. It’s crazy as hell, physically demanding, so you have to be fit and you really have to push yourself throughout the whole 10 minutes.
THEO FLORES, NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER: The difficult part is that the game is continuous no matter if there is a basket or there's a rebound. That's the toughest adjustment of the 3 on 3. Then, the spacing as well.
Although it's only their first day to practice as a team, they're going into the tournament with confidence.
They expect to compete and not just be pushovers.
JOSHUA SINCLAIR, NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER: Today is only the second time that we’ve all trained together, so the chemistry isn’t there yet, but naturally we play well together, I guess. So I’m confident our chemistry is good enough to play against other teams. For sure, one thing is, we’re not going to go in there thinking we’re going to lose. We’re going to go in with the mentality that we’re going to work as hard as we can. We’re representing the Philippines, so we’re not playing for ourselves; we’re playing for the whole country.
The Philippines will open its schedule against New Zealand and Brazil on June 2 in Kazakhstan, then face Hungary and Spain two days later.
Naveen Ganglani, Rappler, Manila.