SBP, Gilas Women's 3x3 make last push for OQT

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas wanted one last push to help the Gilas Pilipinas Women's 3x3 team get a ticket to the upcoming FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) to be hosted by India in March 2020. Six teams were invited to compete in the SMART-SBP Women's 3x3 Tournament held Saturday morning at the Meralco Gym.

Currently, the Philippines is on the outside looking in for women's 3x3 as the country ranks 25th with 1,846,265 points. The good thing is that it's not too far behind from the 24th-ranked Canada that has 1,954,785.

Only the Top 24 countries will be invited to join the FIBA OQT.

The competitors included FIBA 3x3 World Cup veterans Janine Pontejos, Afril Bernardino, Jack Danielle Animam, and Gemma Miranda. Other members of the Gilas Pilipinas Women, such as Bea Daez, played in the tournament. In the end, the team composed of Miranda, Camille Claro, Ria Nabalan, and Tina Deacon emerged victorious, but the presence of all the players was invaluable as it will contribute to the points needed to make it to the top 24.

"We're thankful to the SBP, under the leadership of President Al Panlilio with the help of Coach Ryan Gregorio, for staging this event," said Gilas Pilipinas Women head coach Patrick Aquino. "With Women's 3x3, we need all the experience we can get. But even if we don't get to play a lot, we've already seen good results in the competitions that we've joined."

Earlier this year, the women's team composed on Animam, Bernardino, Pontejos, and Claire Castro reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup. After that, the Philippines won it's first ever medal in Women's 3x3 competitions when the Under-18 Team composed of Camille Clarin, Ella Fajardo, Angel Surada, and Kristine Cayabyab won the bronze in the 2019 FIBA Under-18 World Cup.

"Our women's team has done really well in the past 3x3 competitions they've joined and we want them to know that we will also do out best to help them out" said Panlilio. "Playing in the OQT for 3x3 is another big step forward for Philippine Women's Basketball and that's why we held this event. With coach Patrick Aquino leading our women's program, we're confident that they will continue to make a mark in international competitions."