After a grueling training camp inside the Inspire Sports Academy, the Smart Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 are finally ready to plunge into action as they flew to Graz, Austria late Sunday night to compete for a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The Gilas 3x3 squad is composed of top-ranked Filipino player Joshua Munzon, no.2 Alvin Pasaol, no. 8 Leonard Santillan and Southeast Asian Games 3x3 gold medal winners CJ Perez and Moala Tautuaa. Only four players will be named to the official roster of the five-day competition. At the helm of the squad is head coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The road to Austria has not been without bumps after the team had to make do with months of online training because of government-imposed restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It wasn’t until May that the team finally got together on the court and even then, Pasaol was not able to join immediately because of “health and safety protocols.”
Gilas 3x3 is in for a tough time as they are bracketed in Group C together with Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic. The Philippines battles Slovenia and Qatar on May 26 before taking on France and the Dominican Republic on May 28. The top two teams in the four groups will move on to the knockout stage on May 30. The top three teams will advance to the Tokyo Olympics. (JNP)