by Waylon Galvez
Games Today (Philippine Arena, Bocaue, Bulacan)
4:50 p.m. – Canada vs PH (m)
7:00 p.m. – PH vs Russia (m)
BOCAUE, BULACAN – After splitting its first two games, the men’s national team presses its bid today to advance to the knockout stage of the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup at the Philippine Arena here.
The team, led by 3×3 veteran Troy Rosario, stunned sixth-seeded Brazil, 15-7, but fell to No. 11 Mongolia, 21-17, in the final game Saturday.
The setback dropped the Filipinos to a three-way tie for second with Mongolia and Russia behind Canada’s 2-0 in Pool C. Brazil remains winless after two games.
The national team, seeded 19th in the 20-team field, takes on Canada at 4:50 p.m., and Russia at 7 p.m.
Against Mongolia, the Filipinos were in control early, but the Mongolians rallied to take the lead, 13-11.
The lead ballooned to 19-14, before Stanley Pringle buried a two-ball and had a layup to make it 19-17. Mongolia ended the match with a two-ball.
“We had our chances… we had our chances to stay ahead in the game,” said PH coach Ronnie Magsanoc. “It’s all about knowing how to win in the endgame.”
“We have to learn quickly so we’ll be ready (against Canada and Russia). We have to play better and learn the 3×3 way. Hopefully we’ll know how to perform better in the end,” added Magsanoc.
The national team needs to sweep its assignments to avoid complication of ties. Only the top two teams from each group will advance into the knockout stage.
Meanwhile, defending two-time champion Serbia leads Pool A with a 2-0 record, while No. 7 Poland sports a perfect record of 2-0 in Pool B, and No. 4 Latvia and No. 12 Croatia are tied at 2-0 in Pool D.