THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) welcomes the rescheduling of the 3x3 men's qualifier to the Tokyo Olympics for next year.
Former PBA champion coach Ryan Gregorio, now special assistant to SBP president Al S. Panlilio, said moving the qualifying date to May next year in Austria is definitely a big advantage to the Gilas 3x3 team as it will give the Filipinos enough time to play together and further built their cohesion.
The event was originally scheduled in Begalaru, India last March 18-22, but was initially postponed by FIBA with the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
Just last week, the basketball federation scheduled the new playdate from May 26 to 30 in Graz or about two months before the staging of the Tokyo Olympics.
"Kung nagsimula yung tournament, I don't think we have enough preparation," admitted Gregorio. "Dahil nag-coincide rin sa schedule ng PBA at may iba't-ibang schedule din yung players."
The event postponement, according to Gregorio, gave all 20 countries participating in the tournament an even playing field.
"Because it was moved, the 20 countries and its players are back to zero lahat pagdating sa conditioning at pagdating na rin sa preparation," he said.
The Gilas team is comprised of 2019 PBA Rookie of the Year CJ Perez of Columbian Dyip, last year's Most Improved Player Mo Tautuaa of San Miguel Beer, and the amateur pair of Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol.
Perez and Tautuaa form part of the Gilas team that won the inaugural 3x3 men's basketball gold in last year's Southeast Asian Games.
Gregorio said as soon as clearance is given by IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) for contact sports to resume practices, the Gilas 3x3 team will lose no time to come together and start training again.
"As soon as were given clearance by IATF to resume basketball and return to play, magka-karoon tayo ng magandang opportunity to play together to improve our chemistry and camaraderie," said the SBP executive.
The Philippines is bracketed with France, Slovenia, Qatar, and Dominican Republic in Pool C, with only the top team in each three groups clinching a berth to the Tokyo Games.(RG)