MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine national 3x3 team is finally at full strength as it enters the closing stretch of its preparations for the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Alvin Pasaol has now joined the team after missing out on their first week of camp. He completes the pool composed of Joshua Munzon, CJ Perez, Moala Tautuaa, and Leonard "Santi" Santillan.
Joining them in the training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna are Jason Brickman, Malick Diouf, Tonino Gonzaga, and Agosto Flor.
"The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas did a tremendous job of collecting these talented players into one team so our job is to make sure we’ll have a cohesive unit," said Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
"We thank the SBP for giving us a safe training environment here so we can devote all our focus on our preparation for the qualifiers. There have been challenges along the way but we're happy that the team is finally complete," he added.
The FIBA 3x3 OQT takes place in Graz, Austria from May 26 to 30.
The Philippines will take on Qatar and Slovenia on May 26 and the Dominican Republic and France on May 28 in Pool C.
It will be an uphill climb for the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 squad, as Slovenia is the fourth ranked team in Men’s 3x3, led by one of the top players in the world in Simon Finzgar, while France is ranked 10th.
The Philippines occupies the 20th spot, ahead of Qatar (26th) and the Dominican Republic (33rd) but these two teams are no push-overs as well.
The top two teams from all four pools will qualify for the quarterfinals with the three podium finishers earning a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. The three qualifiers will join host team Japan along with China, Russia, and Serbia, who qualified outright because of the FIBA 3x3 ranking points.
"In terms of effort, I really could not ask for anything more from the players during our first week of training and they also did their best to build on that with our online training sessions," said Magsanoc.
"Now it's about bringing everything together and forming a team that we can be proud of, a team that can compete against the best in the world."
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