Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 coach Ronnie Magsanoc has announced Tuesday his official 4-man roster for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifier (OQT) set May 26 to 30 in Graz, Austria.
Magsanoc named former PBA Rookie of the Year CJ Perez, Moala Tautuaa, and league rookies Joshua Muzon and Leonard Santillan to the lineup a day prior to the event, leaving 3×3 veteran Alvin Pasaol – also a PBA newcomer.
“(The) Coaching staff decided to include Leonard Santillan,” said Ryan Gregorio, the Special Assistant to the President (SAP) of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Al Panlilio.
“As you very well know, Alvin’s entry inside the bubble was delayed due to health and safety protocol. He is just slowly getting into shape and his match fitness is not yet at an optimum level.”
Pasaol, who had numerous local and international stints as a 3×3 campaigner following his collegiate career at the University of the East, missed several days of practice session as he needed to stay in quarantine.
The national team will take on Qatar and Slovenia on May 26, and then they face the Dominican Republic and France on May 28 in Pool C.
Gilas is up for a tough battle since Slovenia is the fourth ranked national team in FIBA Men’s 3×3, led by one of the top players in the world in Simon Finzgar, while France is ranked 10th.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is at 20th spot, ahead of Qatar, which is at 26th,while Dominican Republic is at 33rd although Magsanoc understands that the two teams are no push-overs as well.
The top two teams from all four pools will qualify for the quarterfinals with the three podium finishers earning a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. The three qualifiers will join host team Japan along with China, Russia, and Serbia, who qualified outright because of the FIBA 3×3 ranking points.