For a country that lives and breathes basketball, it’s a surprise the Philippines ranks low in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup.
But fans shouldn’t be fooled by the home team’s seeds.
The Philippine women’s team opens the hosts’ campaign when it takes on the Netherlands at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Friday.
That game is at 2:50 p.m., followed by a match against Germany at 6:40 p.m.
The women, handled by Mark Solano and Patrick Aquino, are seeded 20th and last while the men, coached by Ronnie Magsanoc, are 19th.
The reason for the low rankings, according to Solano, also the national program director for 3x3 basketball, is the teams above the Philippines have played more games in the international circuit.
In two World Cups, the men eventually placed ninth (2016) and 11th (2017); the women are debuting in the tournament this week.
The women’s team is made up of Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Gemma Miranda and Janine Pontejos. Except for Pontejos, of Centro Escolar University, the rest of the squad are members of Aquino’s winning program at National University.
The men’s side is composed of San Miguel Beer’s Christian Standhardinger, GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, and TNT’s Troy Rosario and RR Pogoy.
For the first time in five World Cups, the games will be played indoors because Solano said organizers don’t want games halted because of rain.
The women, bunched in Pool D, complete preliminary-round play on Sunday when they face Spain and Hungary.
The men, assigned to Pool C, play Brazil and Mongolia on Saturday, and Canada and Russia on Monday.
The top 2 teams of each of the 4 pools advance to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
In the 2017 World Cup, Serbia, the Netherlands and France finished 1-2-3 in the men’s division, while gold-medalist Russia joined runner-up Hungary and third-place Ukraine on the women’s podium.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.