Gilas 3x3 team training bubble for OQT to start next week

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is set to start a training bubble for members of the Gilas 3x3 squad that will join the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria from May 26-30.

An-all PBA selection composed of rookies Joshua Munzon (Terrafirma) and Alvin Pasaol (Meralco), and Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Mo Tautuaa and CJ Perez of San Miguel will head to the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba next week.

Per PBA Vice Chairman Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma, their mother teams have requested the SBP to allow the quartet to also practice with their five-on-five squads once quarantine restrictions on practice are lifted.

Rosales added that Gilas 3x3 team practices will also be moved to Metro Manila once the PBA teams get a green light to do scrimmages, per an agreement with the SBP.

"As far as the SBP is concerned, that should not be a problem when the IATF allows scrimmages also. They will transfer the venue of the training to NCR. As far as scheduling is concerned, there should be no problem," he said during Tuesday's press conference.

The four are set to leave for Austria one week before the start of the OQT. Only three teams from the tournament will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Gilas is bracketed with Slovenia, Qatar, France, and the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, the PBA is very serious in finally staging its own 3x3 tournament, with plans of even staging it before its five-on-five variety.

"Right now, we're really pushing for the 3x3 to happen sooner than the regular five-on-five because we believe that it would be easier to launch the 3x3 because there are fewer personnel. This hinges on the vaccination program that we will be able to conduct," said Rosales.

Six non-PBA entities have expressed joining the tournament, and will pay P2 million as an entry fee. The six teams are the Zamboanga Valientes, Big Boss Cement, Master Sardines, Geanaux Systems Corp., Pioneer Epoxy, and Phenom BRT-Sumisip, a replacement for the Blackwater Elite, bringing the total number to 16 teams.

Aside from Blackwater, Alaska will also not be joining the league since team governor Dickie Bachmann will be overseeing the tournament.