Kobe Paras will lead the Philippines’ 3X3 campaign in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) declared on Tuesday.
“Honestly that’s the goal right now. I don’t want it to be a dream or I do not want it to be anyone’s dream in the Philippines,” the 20-year old son of 1989 Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Benjie Paras told reporters on Tuesday in a news conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas.
“This has been a dream for all of us. Throughout the years, I have been saying that 3×3 basketball is where we can thrive. It’s a huge step for us. We’ve been wanting to have someone to back us here in 3×3. It’s going to be a great journey for us,” added the young Paras who is also an incoming University of the Philippines player.
The SBP announced that it would create a program and a national team for 3X3 basketball.
“The 3×3 is the foundation of basketball,” said SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios. “The FIBA (International Basketball Federation) has always made sure to remind our chairman to take the lead in this sport. There is no reason that we cannot propagate this game format.”
The PH can secure a slot in the Olympics by gaining more points through the hosting of local 3X3 tournaments and the participation of its national team in various overseas competitions sanctioned by the FIBA.
“Our search is not limited to male players. We must begin scouting for good players in the grassroots level so we can hone them while they’re young,” Barrios said in Filipino.
Barrios stressed that the Philippines needs to improve its current FIBA ranking of No. 46 in 3X3 to qualify for the Olympics. The country needs to get into the top four to compete in Tokyo 2020.
“But for us to make a significant rise in the world rankings, there should be formalities. There are basically two ways to improve our rankings. The first one is the grassroots program, the more often we play and the more players we register, it will have a better effect on our rankings.”
SBP will be backed by Chooks-To-Go in its search for members of the 3X3 national team.
Eric Altamirano, former coach of the 3X3 national team, said the ideal team composition is tall guards and multi-skilled players.
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