The Philippines’ return to the Olympics could be hinged on 3×3 Basketball after it was given a roadmap by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
And it could be as close as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The bid will be anchored on Filipino sensation and University of the Philippines player Kobe Paras. The SBP will also create an official nationwide 3×3 tournament to start next month to give the program a backbone.
The last time the Philippines qualified in the Olympics was in 1972 Summer Games in Munich, Germany on a regular 5-against-5 format.
The country failed to end that four-decade Olympic drought in 2016 after it was eliminated in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament held here.
Unlike in 5-on-5 basketball where a country could clinch a ticket in the 12-nation field through several International Basketball Federation (FIBA) qualification stages, 3×3 offers a more accessible way as the top eight countries with most points will be given Olympic tickets.
There are two ways to rack up points – by participating in the FIBA-sanctioned international 3×3 tournaments and by organizing local 3×3 tournaments within the country.
With still three years away from the Olympics, the Philippines put itself early in a position to climb ranks through a nationwide tournament and the creation of a 3×3 national team.
“The 3×3 is the foundation of Philippine basketball. FIBA has always made sure to remind the SBP to take the lead in Asia in this sport. There is no reason why we cannot propagate this game format,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said.