Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said Wednesday, April 28, that the Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 will enter the bubble training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna starting on Sunday to prepare for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Six players, including former Rookie of the Year CJ Perez and his San Miguel Beer teammate Mo Tautuaa, 2021 top rookie pick Joshua Munzon of TerraFirma, and fellow rookies Alvin Pasaol of Meralco and Leonard Santillan of Rain or Shine will troop to the sports facility together with former Phoenix player Karl Dehesa.
Dehesa and Santillan will be the two reserves of the squad.
“We are happy to tell everyone that our request was received favorably by the PBA to join the training bubble for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT),” said Panlilio.
“The SBP thanks Commissioner Willie Marcial, the PBA Board of Governors, and the mother teams of the five players for their support.”
The tournament is set May 26 to 30 in Graz, Austria, and Panlilio said all the invited players and coaches, led by SBP 3×3 Program Director Ronnie Magsanoc, have taken the necessary steps to ensure that the protocols are being observed before they enter the bubble.
The Philippines will take on Qatar and Slovenia on May 26, and the Dominican Republic and France on May 28 for the chance to grab one of three spots for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We believe that the Philippines will have a competitive team in Austria. It’s a big challenge to upset teams ranked in the Top 10 of 3×3 in Slovenia and France but we have a good combination of skills, speed, size, and strength to give them a run for their money,” said Panlilio.
“We may be ranked ahead of Qatar and the Dominican Republic but we can’t count them out either. It is good to get this chance to prepare, so our players can get back into game shape and develop chemistry.”