Uratex Dream eyes back-to-back WNBL 3x3 titles


Posted at Feb 15 2022 06:45 PM

Uratex Dream Handout photo.
Uratex Dream ruled the first leg of the WNBL 3x3 competition. Handout photo.

MANILA, Philippines -- A bigger and more competitive WNBL 3x3 is on tap as it unveils its second leg on Feb. 26 at the Hoopla gym inside the Angelis Resort in Muntinlupa City.

Ten teams divided into two groups will vie for honor, prize money, and prestige of helping the country gain valuable points in the FIBA ranking for the long-term goal of qualifying in the Olympics.

First leg champion Uratex Dream, led by Alyssa Villamor, will be aiming for back-to-back titles, but is expected to be challenged by the rest of the field led by sister team Uratex Tibay.

"It's going to be an exciting leg again for our viewers and to our women basketball players," said commissioner Haydee Ong in Tuesday's virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

Uratex Dream retained the same core that won the inaugural leg last December led by Villamor, Kaye Pingol, Tina Deacon, and Angel Anies, as it aims to go for a second straight championship and the P15,000 top prize money that goes with it.

"Always naman na nandiyan 'yung pressure. So 'yung pressure na 'yun ay gagawin na lang naming motivation para kami mag-work hard at mag-push pa," said Villamor, who also graced the public sports program together with Callie Paguigan of Sureviewd, and Uratex Tibay's Kat Quimpo, who is also executive committee chairman of the league.

Quimpo expects tough games down the road, especially now that players are more used to the pace and style of 3x3 basketball after their experience in the first leg.

"The second leg will be more competitive and we've always said that. 'Yung first leg kasi had been new to all of us," added Quimpo, who coaches the Ateneo de Manila University women's team.

Although Sureviewd is seeing action for the first time, Paguigan hopes her team gets to compete for the championship despite limited time of practicing together due to the current health pandemic.

Uratex Dream headlines Pool A together with Boost Basketball, We Got Next, Sureviewd, and Angelis Resort, while Teachshare leads Pool B along with Uratex Tibay, Rizal Huskies, JJD, and Dreamers.

Ong said teams will play in a single round robin, with the top two in each pool advancing to the crossover semifinals. The two surviving teams after the knockout semis will then dispute the title.

WNBL officials are also hoping the country's FIBA ranking will continue to rise with the regular holding of 3x3 games, which will have a total of six legs to be played.

At the conclusion of the opening leg, the Philippines rose from No. 92 to No. 64, a big step forward in its quest of moving into the Top 10 for a shot at an Olympic berth.

"Yun ang ultimate goal namin," said Ong. "And I think nothing is impossible."