After four years of absence, the Philippines is ready to make a comeback to the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters. The country will send two teams to join the global meet in Doha from April 18 to 19.
The Pasig Grindhouse Kings, who won the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3X3 President’s Cup, and the Bataan Risers, who placed second in the Super Quest tournament and will go by Balanga Chooks, are set to further boost FIBA 3X3 points for the country. The Philippines currently places 32nd in the world rankings.
The Grindhouse Kings will be led by their top two players, Joshua Munzon and Taylor Statham. Serbian import Nikola Pavlovic and French reinforcement Angelo Tsagarakis will also be joining them.
Meanwhile, Balanga will field the same four from the Super Quest: Karl Dehesa, Travis Franklin, Alvin Pasaol, and Leonard Santillan.
Both teams will figure in a tough group. Pasig will face top club in the world Liman of Serbia and home team Katara. Balanga, on the other hand, will take on no. 3 club Risa Ghetto of Latvia and no. 6 Moscow Inanomo.
Eric Altamirano, the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3X3 league commissioner, expressed his confidence in the teams that will be sent to the competition.
“The competition of the World Tour will be really tough. But I really believe that we are sending two of the best teams for the World Tour. This will be a first time for us to compete in this high level tournament but I think this is just the start for the country,” he said.
For Pasig imports Pavlovic and Tsagarakis, however, the competition in the Philippines is different from the World Tour Masters.
“I don’t think the guys realize yet the intensity that we are going to face in Doha,” said Tsagarakis, who competed in the 2017 World Tour Masters Prague.
“The level is completely different from here and the way of playing basketball is completely different from here. It’s going to be much more physical. It’s more deliberate basketball,” added Pavlovic, who has won three World Tour Masters with Novi Sad.