Three-on-three basketball (3×3), more commonly known as streetball, is a fast-emerging basketball form, and its growth in the Philippines is very much evident during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The Gilas men’s 3×3 team of Jaymar Perez, Moala Tautuaa, Chris Newsome and Jason Perkins, as well as the women’s team of Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Jack Animam and Claire Castro were the gold medal winners of the latest biennial sporting event.
Their successes have inspired the organizers of the MDC 3X3 basketball to expand their tournaments to other parts of the country in an aim to develop the young basketball players.
“We hope to do our share in helping the youth to get into sports, basketball in particular, through our MDC 3X3 tournaments,” said MDC vice president Jessica Clemente-Ho during the 51st “Usapang Sports”, presented by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS).
Ho and the MDC basketball operations head and coach Goy Bagares said that, while there are several 3X3 basketball tournaments being played all over the country, the MDC can still do its fair share of discovering younger and talented players from the countryside.
“Madami tayong magagaling na mga players, lalo na sa countryside, na kailangan mabigyan ng tamang pagsasanay sa tulong ng MDC at iba pang ka-parehong 3X3 tournaments,” explained Bagares.
Bagares, also the head coach of the multi-titled Rizal Technological University women’s team, said the MDC 3X3 tournament is not solely focused in the 18-under division but also in other age group categories as well.
“The MDC 3×3 tournament is an open tournament focusing in age groups. Naniniwala kami na mula sa mga nakababatang age group maaaring magsimula ‘yung passion ng mga players. Dito talaga made-develop ‘yung talent nila sa paglalaro,” Bagares said.
The age groups, according to Bagares, are 10-under (born 2009), 12-under (born 2007), 15-under (born 2004), 18-under (born 2001), 18-under girls (born 2001) and 21-under (born 1998).
MDC vice-president Alaine Diaz-De Leon said the MDC 3X3 tournament started as a small event, but it has slowly grown and now has qualifying tournaments in Roxas City, Bacolod, Iloilo, Palawan, Negros, Baguio, Pangasinan, Quezon City, Lucena, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cabanatuan, Cavite, Leyte and Butuan.
The winners of those qualifying tournament legs will advance to the National Finals slated on May 11 at the Marikina Sports Complex.
“We actually started as a small tournament. Now, we have as many as 24 teams which have already played in our qualifying tournaments,” Diaz said. “We are committed to continue discovering young basketball players that have potential to make it big in the 3×3 basketball.”/PN