Joshua Munzon shared that he felt very comfortable during the first week of the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 camp that they’re doing in preparation for the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will take place from May 26-30 in Graz, Austria.
After all, 3x3 basketball is where he’s made a name for himself over the last few years.
"I definitely can say that it felt natural," shared Munzon, who is the top-ranked 3x3 player in the entire country. "Just going out there was like riding a bike. I can't say it was easy but we were able to shake off some rust."
Joining Munzon inside the camp held at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna were 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalists CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa, Karl Dehesa and Cebuano forward Santi Santillan. Also there was Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas 3x3 basketball program director Ronnie Magsanoc, who is the team’s head coach.
Munzon added that the first half of the camp, which lasted for seven days, was tough as the team went through twice-a-day sessions that really demanded a lot from their bodies. Still, Munzon says he’s grateful to just be out there with his team after being locked down because of the health crisis.
"It was very productive and we were able to accomplish a lot. Good to be around a lot of people after being locked out for so long," said the 6-foot-4 gunner out of Long Beach, California.
"We were able to shake the rust off and have an idea on what our offense and defense will be."
Gilas 3x3 broke camp last Saturday but will returning later this week.
"I just think we just continue to build on what we have been working on, the chemistry and just be better," he continued as 3x3 teammate Alvin Pasaol is set to join them.
The Gilas 3x3 has a tall task ahead of them in the aforementioned competition as they take on Slovenia and Qatar on the 26th and France and the Dominican Republic on the 28th.
Facing high caliber teams, though, is not new to Munzon, although he admits that the pressure is definitely on with only three teams being given tickets to the Tokyo Olympics.
"This is very big," said the 26-year-old. "I can say that this is the biggest opportunity I have had in my career. Truly a huge honor and the possibility of being in the Olympics is something that I never thought I would be in."
To close, Munzon is grateful to SMART and the SBP for making this dream possible.
"I'm very grateful to Boss Al [Panlilio], Boss Butch [Antonio], and Coach Ronnie for keeping this OQT dream alive. We all know how hard it is to train in this pandemic but they were able to do it," expressed Munzon.
"It's amazing to be part of this and to be in this position. We hope to make the country proud." (JNP)