SBP explains decision to go with PBA players in SEAG 3x3

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio explained the federation's decision to go with an all-PBA poll for the 3x3 competition of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Panlilio, who announced the pool in a press conference on Thursday, said that the move was in line with their goal of making the sport more prevalent in the country.

"From the SBP point of view, I want to develop it as pervasive as 5-on-5. There are a lot of leagues for 5-on-5, while 3x3 leagues aren't too many," Panlilio explained.

"It's something we should propagate even much more. In this case, if we can bring the PBA -- because PBA players can be fielded -- we can bring more people, more interest into the program, [and] it only helps the SBP to bring all of this together."

FIBA World Cup standouts Robert Bolick and CJ Perez headlined the 3x3 pool announced by Panlilio, along with Anthony Semerad, Chris Newsome, Terrence Romeo, Ian Sangalang, Mac Belo, Chris Banchero, Raymond Almazan, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa and Baser Amer.

In a separate statement, the basketball chief also said that SBP is also just taking advantage of the lenient SEA Games standards that allow PBA players who are not ranked in FIBA 3x3 to compete in the regional meet.

"The SEA Games have a unique set-up. Players who play here are not required to be in the FIBA Top 100 in the country. Having said that, we wanted to take advantage of the PBA opening it doors for any of its players to be used in the competition," he said in a message. "The SBP is very thankful to the PBA for allowing its players to participate in the 3x3 tournament."

"Again, going back to FIBA, it's the top 100 players, it's the cadence of how many tournaments they're playing. That's how they earn points, right? So since Chooks-to-Go is the one doing a lot of that, then the Chooks players [are] in the top 100," Panlilio added.

Panlilio, though, acknowledged the body of work that Chooks 3x3 has accomplished to help hike the country's status in the sport.

"Chooks has done a very good job in terms of progressing the development of 3x3. We're ranked 21 in the world. We have an opportunity to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. I think, today, the players qualified for that OQT are the players in the top 100 and those players are coming from the Chooks-to-Go tournament," he said.

In addition, Panlilio said SBP is looking forward to helping Chooks in its bid to host the qualifying tournament.

"We also thank Chooks-to-Go for offering their players to be part of the pool but we are positioning their players for the Olympic Qualifiers that Chooks-to-Go is bidding to host. We are excited to partner with them as they have players who are eligible to play for our country as well," he said.

Panlilio closed by asking for support for the men's basketball teams that will be gunning for gold.

"I ask our countrymen to support our Gilas Pilipinas Men and Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 teams in the upcoming SEA Games in Manila."