All systems go for FIBA 3×3 qualifiers

International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 event manager Ignacio Soriano assured that it’s still all systems go for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying tournament slated in India next month as well as the World Tour Manila Masters scheduled in May amid the threats of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The first-ever Olympic qualifying tournament (OQT) will be held on March 18 to 22 in the Indian city of Bangalore.

“For now, the first reaction is to keep the Olympic qualifying tournament in India as it is,” said Soriano, who arrived in the country for an ocular inspection at the SM Megamall which will serve as venue for the Manila Masters scheduled on May 2 and 3.

Ranked No. 20 in the world, the Philippines secured a spot in the men’s division of the OQT and is set to face No. 6 Slovenia, No. 10 France, No. 17 Qatar and No. 33 Dominican Republic in Pool C.

Only three of the 20 national teams in the qualifiers will join host Japan, China, Russia and Serbia in the Summer Games.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is expected to announce today the six-man roster for the OQT, which must have two players in the top 10 of the country’s 3×3 rankings.

Leading local players Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, the faces of the Chooks to Go Pilipinas 3×3 league, are seen as shoo-ins for the national squad.

Meanwhile, Soriano also guaranteed the staging of the Manila Masters.

“Here, we have no reason to have any alarm. The World Tour will happen, for now,” said the FIBA 3×3 executive.

“But again there is force majeure. We don’t know what’s going to happen today or tomorrow. But as of today, the World Tour in the Philippines is secured,” he added.

The champion of the Chooks to Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup–the league’s first conference-is touted to represent the country in the second leg of the World Tour wherein Novi Sad of Serbia and Sakiai Gulbele of Lithuania are already seeded.

A second Filipino club can join the Masters should it qualify through a FIBA 3×3 Challenger competition or other qualifying tilt.

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