PBA stars eyed for FIBA 3-on-3 bash

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 12 2014 08:52 AM | Updated as of Mar 12 2014 04:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Imagine Calvin Abueva slashing the middle, Arwind Santos hitting a jumper and Japeth Aguilar slamming it in for the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific leg of this year’s FIBA 3x3 World Tour.

The possibility was raised by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios as he tackled the coming event in yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate.

Barrios said the Philippines will host the Asia-Pacific leg in July. It will comprise of 12 teams, including three from the host country.

Five other legs will be played in Beijing, Chicago, Lausanne, Rio de Janeiro and Prague. The top two teams in each leg will move on to the World Tour in Tokyo in October.

However, the former PBA commissioner stressed that it’s just a possibility.

“It being July, either the PBA is finished with third conference or if it is still ongoing only two teams are left playing in the finals,” said Barrios, meaning players from the eliminated teams can see action in the 3-on-3 event.

“So is it possible? I really don’t know,” said Barrios.

Barrios said one slot to the Asia-Pacific leg is already for the winner of the Philippine 18-Under 3-on-3 Championships in May 24-25. Another slot may be opened to the team of Kobe Paras, Prince Rivero and Alvin Tolentino that won the FIBA Asia 3-on-3 crown in 2013.

The third slot, Barrios added, is available to any team that can represent the country well in the Asia-Pacific leg and secure a slot to the World Tour in October.

“We can assemble a PBA team, D-League team or a collegiate team for the third slot,” Barrios said.

Also gracing the weekly forum were FIBA 3-on3 events manager Ignacio Soriano of Spain, SBP deputy executive director Bernie Atienza, SBP consultant Moying Martelino, Smart Sports executive Epok Quimpo and SBP legal counsel Aga Francisco.

Soriano said the FIBA 3x3 World Tour is open to all players, and that in the World Tour it’s even possible to see LeBron James or Kobe Bryant playing in the United States.

“In the World Tour the average age is 35 years old. It’s not about the age and height but the skills,” said Soriano.

The hosting of the World Tour was originally offered by FIBA-Asia to the Philippines following its highly-successful staging of the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship last August.

Gilas Pilipinas wound up second behind Iran in the FIBA-Asia and earned a slot to the World Championship in Spain in August.

But Barrios said the SBP had to decline the offer so it could focus on the World Championship and the Asian Games in Incheon in September.

Because of this, Barrios said it was best for the SBP headed by Manny V. Pangilinan to decline the hosting of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.