BOCAUE, Bulacan – Playing in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup was a memorable experience for TNT guard Roger Pogoy.
Pogoy had played for the Philippines in several international tournaments, but those were always in the 5-on-5 setting. This was the first time that he played 3x3 basketball at the FIBA level.
He showed that he could shine in 3x3, thanks to his sweet-shooting stroke and defensive skills. Pogoy was the floor-spacer that the national team needed, and the threat of his outside shot helped open up the court for Stanley Pringle's drives.
His best – and at the same time most painful – moment came against Canada, in the Philippines' third game of Pool C. Against the 14th-seeded team in the tournament, Pogoy was on fire, draining four of his five two-pointers to help the Philippines rally from a seven-point deficit.
He also knocked down the two free throws that put the Philippines on top, 18-16. But agonizingly, Pogoy also misfired on the potential game-winning jumper as time expired, and Canada claimed a 20-19 win that eliminated the Philippines from the quarterfinals race.
"Sayang talaga 'yung Canada," Pogoy lamented after they wrapped up their stint with a 19-12 win over Russia, where he scored two points. "Para sa atin na sana 'yun, pero kinuha nila sa atin."
There was, however, a silver lining to their painful loss to Canada. After the game, Pogoy got to meet one of the team's stars, Steve Sir. The 35-year-old veteran still holds the record for the highest-shooting percentage in NCAA Division 1 history, at .469.
"Good game," Sir told Pogoy after their contest. "You played a good game. You're one good shooter!"
Pogoy, for his part, replied: "Thanks, man! I want to be like you!"
The 25-year-old later admitted that he was quite star-struck with Sir, who scored a point in their win over the Philippines.
"Gustong ko siyang gayahin kasi nakita ko ang ganda ng bitaw niya. Siya 'yung all-time leader sa NCAA sa three-pointers. Sinabi niya sa akin na shooter ka din. Nakita niya ang ganda ng form ko, pagpatuloy ko daw," said Pogoy.
"Malaking karangalan 'yun, kasi NCAA legend siya eh," he added. "Naglaro pa siya sa Summer League ng Milwaukee Bucks."
"Hindi ko talaga ito makakalimutan," Pogoy vowed.
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