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PH to play in FIBA 3x3 OQT

MANILA -- The Philippines gets a chance to qualify for the 3x3 event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the country clinched a berth in the men's division of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in India on March 18-22, 2020.

As announced during a gala dinner to start the festivities in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Finals in Utsunomiya, Japan on Friday night, the Philippines will play in Pool C of the preliminary round, joining Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic.

The qualification for the OQT and even the Olympics outright was based on the FIBA 3x3 Individual World Ranking points of the Top 100 players per country.

China, Serbia, and Russia, the top three teams in the FIBA 3x3 men's rankings, will join host country Japan as outright entries to the first 3x3 basketball competition of the Summer Olympics.

The top three teams in the OQT will join the four nations in the Olympics, while another OQT, called the Universality OQT, will take place in Hungary in April to determine the last team to make the Olympics.

"We’re very happy that the Philippines will be competing in the upcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament for a shot at making it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said.

The inception of the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League contributed greatly to the Philippines' zoom to the OQT berth.

Prior to the start of the league in February, the Philippines was way outside the Top 24 cutoff at 60th overall.

However, midway through the last conference of the season, the MelMac Cup, the Philippines zoomed to as high as 20th place.

"The SBP thanks all the private promoters that held 3x3 events, especially Chooks-To-Go, led by Ronald Mascariñas," Panlilio added.

Mascariñas, meanwhile, expressed happiness with the development.

“But we could not have done it without the combined efforts of everyone," he said. (PNA)

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