MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine men's national team will look to pull off some upsets when it opens its campaign in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup on Saturday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The host squad is seeded 19th in the 20-team tournament, and will play sixth-seeded Brazil at 3:10 p.m. and 11th-seeded Mongolia at 6:40 p.m.
The TNT duo of Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, along with GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle and San Miguel Beer's Christian Standhardinger will carry the flag for the Philippines in the tournament.
Team manager Butch Antonio confirmed Thursday that Standhardinger will be available to play in the tournament, even though the center is dealing with inflammation in his left knee that has kept him from suiting up for San Miguel in its previous two games in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
"Yes, he will be playing. Our line-up is intact," Antonio said.
The question now is how the Philippine men's team will perform, given the limits of its preparation. Antonio and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios won't deny that the team's training has been constrained by the players' PBA schedule.
"They have been at it," said Antonio. "You (deal with) the limitations that we have on schedule, but with coach Ronnie Magsanoc steering the ship for this team, they have been at it."
Antonio bared that the players rushed to national team practice immediately after their own practice with their mother clubs.
"Hopefully, we pull off some surprises," he said. "We're lucky that we're not with (defending champion) Serbia yet."
Plenty of eyes will definitely be on Standhardinger, but FIBA itself has identified Rosario as one of the players to watch in the entire tournament.
"Troy Rosario can do anything: outrebound a 7-footer, dunk, shoot from downtown. Plus, he's got hands softer than your favorite pillow," FIBA said in its website of Rosario, who previously played in the 2014 Manila Masters.
Also in action on Saturday is defending champion Serbia, which opens its three-peat bid against the Netherlands at 2 p.m.
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