ALL PBA teams can now start finalizing their rosters, not only for the coming season but also for a new tournament that is expected to be a big hit with fans.
The recent decision of the PBA Board to organize a 3×3 tournament comes as welcome news for teams that have deferred from naming their final rosters until a final word from the teams’ representatives.
Foremost among the teams concerned is NLEX.
“Isang dine-determine kami kung merong 3×3,” said Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao.“So we’re holding our final lineup, ‘yung 15. Whoever does not make the 15 will automatically jump into the 3×3 team namin.”
Guiao was referring to the final composition of each official lineup, which should not exceed 15 players for the coming season that kicks off with the Philippine Cup on March 1.
According to Guiao, he currently has up to 19 players, including reserves, who have joined the team’s practices since last Jan. 6.
“Pero hindi pa namin dine-determine kung sino ang reserves kasi nga, gusto lang namin munang masigurado kung may 3×3. Pag mayroon na, we can tell (those cut) na sa 3×3 sila,” Guiao said.
During their planning session in Milan, Italy, the PBA Board announced that the league will have its own 3×3 tourney to be launched in March.
“Through the recommendation of the vice chair (Bobby Rosales of Columbian), we decided to make it a stand-alone program, something like the D-League. It will be run by an executive director under the supervision of the PBA commissioner,” PBA chair Ricky Vargas said at the end of the planning session.
“Our involvement in 3×3 reassured the SBP president that the PBA is all-out to support the SBP. We’ve been doing that at least in the last four years,” Vargas added.
Rosales said their 3×3 program would underscore the PBA being inclusive. He also noted more opportunities for Filipino basketball players.
The event will feature teams from all 12 PBA franchises plus the possible participation of non-PBA entities.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said Mighty Sports and Dunkin Donuts have expressed intention to join.
For the coming Olympic qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, the PBA board agreed to lend SEA Games gold-medal winners CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Moala Tautuaa and Jason Perkins to reinforce the current pool of coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
The SBP selection committee, composed of Sonny Barrios, Eric Altamirano, Butch Antonio, Jong Uichico and Magsanoc, can tap two from the new pool additions to team up with two highest-ranked Filipino 3×3 players and compose the final four-man roster.
Despite the SEA 3×3 gold, the country still has to go through the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments for the Tokyo Games, with the first OQT set late March in New Delhi, India.
SBP president Al Panlilio has said getting to Tokyo would be ideal, but if the Philippines fails to qualify then it would set its sights on the next Olympics.
“If not Tokyo (in July), maybe 2024 in Paris,” said Panlilio.
Being in a roster for the season has its perks in terms of salaries and bonuses and the same applies for those in the 3×3 lineups, according to Guiao.
“Iyung mga compensation nila mag-di-depende kung 3×3 sila or reserves sila,” he said.