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PBA 3x3 tourney set for March

Riding the momentum of an all-PBA-player lineup's Southeast Asian Games gold in 3x3, the league will have its own 3x3 cagefest this year. Ivan Saldajeno (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—The PBA is set to conduct a 3x3 league this season that will coincide with the usual 5x5 cagefest.

The said move was approved during the league's planning session for the upcoming 2020 season in Milan.

"Through the recommendation of the [PBA board of governors'] vice chair (Bobby Rosales), we decided to make it a standalone program, something like the D-League. It will be run by an executive director under the supervision of the PBA commissioner," said PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas in a statement on Saturday.

The incoming 3x3 tournament, which is scheduled to begin in March much like the 5x5 season, is part of the PBA's continuous support to SBP.

"Our involvement in 3x3 reassured the SBP president (Al Panlilio) that the PBA is all-out to support the SBP. We've been doing that at least in the last four years," Vargas added.

For his part, Panlilio, who is also a member of the PBA board, is aiming for the new 3x3 league to boost Gilas Pilipinas 3x3's chances of making the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Mainly due to the formation of the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league, whose top teams are being sent to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters and Challengers, Gilas 3x3 soared to 20th place in the FIBA 3x3 men's rankings, giving the team a seat in the FIBA OQT in Bengaluru, India.

Now, the formation of the PBA's own 3x3 cagefest could help Gilas 3x3 zoom to the Top 4 by the end of 2023, the cutoff for qualification to the Olympics outright or to the OQT.

The 12 PBA member teams will have their respective representatives to the new 3x3 league, but the said league has been opened for other teams to join.

According to Commissioner Willie Marcial, Mighty Sports, whose 5x5 team is in the final of the Dubai International Basketball Championship, and Dunkin Donuts already made their intent of joining known.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno