With stiff competition in the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Asia Pacific Super Quest, the Pasig Grindhouse Kings and the 1Bataan Risers tapped imports to reinforce their chances.
Former Novi Sad Alwahda player Nikola Pavlovic will play for the Kings, who will have the trio of President's Cup MVP Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, and Troy Rike as its core.
The 197th-ranked 3x3 player in the world, who arrived last weekend, shared that the Philippine game is currently still far from the Serbian-style. But with this tournament, the 6-foot-6 sniper knows that this regional meet will only lead to good things for the sport.
"To be honest, really far," he remarked about the Philippine style of play. "I think this is a good opportunity to grow Philippine 3x3 basketball, especially here in Manila. I think our team is motivated to play in front of the Filipino people."
Pasig has been grouped with Absolute 3X3 Basketball of Taipei and the Jakarta West Bandits of Indonesia in Pool C in this level-eight 3x3 tourney.
On the other hand, 1Bataan will have an import and a guest player. Joining the Risers duo of Alvin Pasaol and Santi Santillan are former World Cuper Karl Dehesa of the Vigan Baluarte Wolves and American Travis Franklin.
Franklin, who used to play for G-League squad Colorado State Rams, is a first-timer in the 3x3 scene. But he is confident that his wealth of experience will be of great use to 1Bataan.
"It's different but it's an open game. At the end of the day, it's basketball and I love this game," shared Franklin, who last played for Lebanese club Al Mouttahed Tripoli early this year.
Bataan will figure in a tough group as they will have to face 19th ranked squad in the world Tokyo Dime.exe of Japan and Hong Kong's Anytours M1, who will field former Alab Pilipinas import Reggie Okosa.
Teams can still change at most two players from their teams up until Friday.
The 12 teams are split into four groups with the top two clubs from each group advancing to the knockout quarterfinals.
The pool games will be held on April 6 while the playoffs is set on April 7.
World no. 15 club Ulaanbataar of Mongolia headlines Pool A and will be joined by South Korea's Enerskin and Australia's TSV Reading Cinema.
The Saigon Aces, who have Ryan Monteclaro and Prince Orizu as two of its quartet, China's SSLC, and New Zealand's Aotearoa form Pool D.
The champion of the Asia Pacific Super Quest will book their ticket to both the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters Doha from April 18 to 19 and the Challenger Series in Penang from May 12 to 13 while bringing home $20,000.
The runners-up will also head to the Doha tournament while pocketing $15,000. The third and fourth place finishers will qualify for the Challenger Series in Kunshan from May 18 to 19 with the former also banking $7,000 while the latter being rewarded with USD 4,000 for their effort.
The fifth to eighth-placed teams will be given $1,000 as consolation.