THE PBA honored the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 team which did the country proud behind a fighting fourth place finish in the recent FIBA Asia Cup in Singapore.
Team members led by captain Almond Vosotros, Joseph Eriobu, Samboy De Leon, and Lervin Flores were feted at the Smart Araneta Coliseum during halftime of the Philippine Cup semifinals between Magnolia and defending champion TNT.
The 3x3 players were also joined by coach Lester Del Rosario and physical therapist Miguel Joshua De Guzman.
A plaque of appreciation was handed out to them by commissioner Willie Marcial.
"I'm very proud na nakapag-represent kami ng country and thankful for the boys for giving everything for the country," said coach Lester, son of the late legendary UST mentor Aric Del Rosario.
Joining the team and Marcial during the short awarding ceremony were Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) 3x3 program director Ronnie Magsanoc, PBA 3x3 tournament director and representative Joey Guanio, 3x3 chairman Dickie Bachmann, Board chairman Ricky Vargas, and governors Robert Non (San Miguel), Alfrancis Chua (Barangay Ginebra), and Rene Pardo (Magnolia).
The 3x3 team went through the qualifiers and needed to beat Jordan, 21-19, and Indonesia, 21-15, to make the main draw.
In pool play, the Filipinos beat Singapore, 21-17, and then lost to China, 11-21, but still emerged as the second best team in Group C to advance in the quarterfinals.
It was during the knockout stage when Gilas made the biggest noise in the tournament, stunning favored Mongolia in the quarterfinals, 21-20, behind the game-winning deuce of Vosotros to clinch for the team a berth in the semifinals.
The Filipinos though went down to New Zealand in the Final Four, 21-13, and lost to China in the battle for the bronze, 20-18.
Despite falling short of a podium finish, it was the best placing yet achieved by a Philippine 3x3 team in the tournament, surpassing a quarterfinals feat in 2013.
The trio of Vosotros, Flores, and De Leon are all members of the TNT 3x3 unit which won the PBA Third Conference grand finals last month, while Erioubu plays for runner-up Purefoods TJ Titans. (RG)