Gilas Pilipinas absorbed a pair of lopsided defeats to open its campaign on a bad note in the start of the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Wednesday, May 26 in Graz, Austria.
Joshua Munzon, CJ Perez, Mo Tautuaa and Santi Santillan fell, 21-12, to Qatar in its opening assignment before being hammered by world No. 4 Slovenia, 21-11, over an hour later.
In dropping the two abbreviated matches, Gilas’ chances of reaching the quarterfinals are now very slim going into its final two games in Pool C.
Coach Ronnie Magsanoc’s squad takes on Dominican Republic and France, ranked 10th in the world, on Friday, May 28.
France and Qatar share the lead with similar 2-0 slates, Slovenia is in third at 1-1 while Dominican Republic joins the Philippines at the bottom with a 0-2 slate.
The top two advance to the quarterfinals of the OQT which has three spots to the Tokyo Olympics at stake.
The Philippines fought hard but lost their opening game at the #3x3OQT against Qatar
Will they bounce back? pic.twitter.com/xfIR7dCG5S— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) May 26, 2021
Gilas 3×3 started the OQT on the wrong foot as Qatar raced to a 7-0 lead before Abdulrahman Saad frustrated the Filipinos with his fiery shooting from the two-point line.
Munzon, the country’s top player in the halfcourt scene, tried to lead Gilas back but Qatar was able to seal the win with still 1:44 remaining in the contest.
The Philippines made it tight in the early goings in its second match, with Munzon even providing one of the best plays of Day 1 when crossed over world No. 18 Simon Finzgar for an easy layup to make it 2-1.
But Slovenia, composed of Finzgar, No. 23 Gaspar Ovnik, No. 32 Anze Srebovt and No. 35 Adin Kavgic, showcased a precise game and eventually took control of the match with a commanding 13-3 advantage.
Slovenia wound up securing the win on Finzgar’s freethrow with 2:17 to go in the game, leaving Gilas in a precarious situation halfway into pool play.