Though failing in their first attempt to secure a ticket to the 2019 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters Doha, the 1Bataan Risers still have a shot at making it to the biggest club tourney series in the world.
After finishing as runners-up in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup, the Risers picked up one of the two slots for the world's first-ever Super Quest tournament, the Asia Pacific Super Quest.
"We're glad that we still made it to the Super Quest," said Alvin Pasaol, the country's fourth-ranked 3x3 player.
However, 1Bataan will figure in the tournament's group of death.
To start their campaign on Saturday, April 6 at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall, the Risers will face Hong Kong's Anytour M1 at 12:40 pm. After a two-hour break, 1Bataan takes on the 15th squad in the world Ulaanbaatar.
The Hong Kong-based club team in this tournament that will be aired on FIBA 3x3's YouTube channel and on ESPN5 will feature three American players headlined by former Alab Pilipinas import Reggie Okosa.
On the other hand, Ulaanbataar will field the Mongolian 3x3 squad that finished in eighth place during the 2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup.
With this tall task, Pasaol and Santi Santillan will be joined by two reinforcements.
Serving as a guest player for the Risers is Vigan Baluarte Wolves' Karl Dehesa, who was part of the Philippines' World Championship team back in 2016.
"I'm very excited to be back on this stage and see some familiar faces. The environment is going to be electric. I'm just excited to face the top competition in the region," said Dehesa.
In addition, 6-foot-6 American Travis Franklin was tapped as the team's import.
"It's different, it's an open game that sees scorers thrive. But at the end of the day, it's basketball and I love this game," shared Franklin, who is a neophyte in the 3x3 game.
Wanting to represent the country in the world stage, Bataan vows that they will not back down against their opponents come the Super Quest.
"We expect them to be physical. But we'll play as one. Alvin and I are teammates in one league, Karl has a lot of experience and Travis really gets us involved," Santillan said. "I believe we can fight."
"It adds pressure knowing we're facing tough opponents in Super Quest, but we'll give it our all since we're representing the country. We'll fight," Pasaol added.
The champion of the Chooks-to-Go 3x3 Asia Pacific Super Quest will book their ticket to both the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters Doha from April 18 to 19 and the Challengers series in Penang from May 12 to 13 while bringing home USD 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 Challengers series in Kunshan from May 18 to 19 with the former also banking $7,000 while the latter being rewarded with $4,000 for their effort.
The fifth to eighth-placed teams will be given $1,000 as consolation.