Local 3x3 star Pasaol "confident" about PH's chances of making OQT as waiting game ongoing

Alvin Pasaol is positive that Gilas 3x3 will play in the OQT. Chooks-To-Go
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—As the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 MelMac Cup ended on Thursday at Gold's Gym Sheridan, the Philippines is now done with its last stand to secure a place in the first FIBA 3x3 OQT next year in India.

Running for two seasons of eight and six legs respectively, the MelMac Cup, designated as a Level 5 FIBA 3x3 tournament, served as the Philippines' last opportunity to rack up enough points for a spot in the OQT.

And now, a waiting game ensues as FIBA will only name the 30 teams that will qualify in either the Olympics outright or in one of the two OQT's by Friday during the finals of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in Utsunomiya, Japan.

However, Balanga Chooks star Alvin Pasaol is bullish that the Philippines will qualify.

"Sobrang confident ko. Yun yung parating pinagdadasal ko gabi-gabi na maka-OQT tayo," Pasaol said.

As of last week, the Philippines is number 21 in the men's ranking, well within the Top 24 cutoff for the first OQT.

This is in itself a huge jump from 61st place last February, before the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League was made into reality.

The Philippines even peaked to as high as 20th place in men's play the previous week.

"Sa nine months na pinaghirapan natin, magkakasama tayo, ito na. Nagbunga na yun. Konting tulak na lang ito," Pasaol continued.

With the OQT now in sight, Pasaol and two other 3x3 stars, Santi Santillan and Joshua Munzon, pulled their names out of the upcoming PBA Draft in anticipation of being chosen to the Gilas 3x3 team for the said event.

In a buildup to the said announcement event in Utsunomiya, FIBA stopped releasing the latest 3x3 ranking updates.

The top four teams per gender will get automatic seats in the Olympic 3x3 event.

The next 20 teams per gender will qualify in the regular OQT, where three spots per gender are at it, something the Philippines has been targeting in both men's and women's play.

Six of them per gender, if they fail to make the cut in the first OQT, will play again in a second OQT, called the Universality OQT, to determine the final team in the eight-country field of the Olympic 3x3 tourney.

"Manalig lang tayo na papasok tayo," Pasaol added in hope.

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