Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 pool member Mo Tautuaa is working on ways to make sure he can hold his own against stiffer competition in this month’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria.
Tautuaa said the competition he experienced during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games is nothing compared to the upcoming OQT where Gilas 3×3 is aiming to secure one of the three slots for the Tokyo Olympics.
“This is going to be the first time we played against this caliber, this level, me and CJ (Perez),” said Tautuaa, who teamed up with Perez, Chris Newsome and Jason Perkins in the Philippines’ run to the men’s 3×3 gold two years ago.
The San Miguel Beermen big man used the recent training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna not only to reacquaint himself to the halfcourt game but also to improve his skills.
He also got help from fellow pool players in Joshua Munzon, Santi Santillan and Karl Dehesa, who have various experiences in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas and FIBA 3×3 scene.
“You can’t just be fast, you also have to be strong. But you can’t just be strong, you also need to shoot or post up in 3×3,” Tautuaa said.
“I feel I can dabble with all those areas, not at the highest level, but good enough to where the defense will respect me wherever I am on the floor,” he added.
Gilas 3×3 is expected to head back to the “Calambubble” this week for the second phase of their OQT preparation, with Alvin Pasaol, another veteran 3×3 player, set to join the squad after health and safety protocols prevented him from taking part in the initial bubble.