Doble: 3-on-3 is back

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By Henry G. Doble

Take Two

Thursday, February 6, 2014


LIKE beach volleyball, 7-aside football, and futsal, the 3-on-3 basketball is on a comeback trail after Fiba saw interest in this exciting sport all over the world.

And the event might or will be a demonstration sport in the next Olympics.

Nike started it all in the Philippines in the '90s, Adidas Streetball followed as international corporations saw big business for its sportswear products.

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Here in the country, with or without these formal and prize-loaded tournaments, the Filipinos were already playing the game they loved so much.

It is still our best passion and even if these national and international 3-on-3 leagues took a dip in previous years, for us it did not matter. We were the subject in the book Pacific Rims by Rafe Bartholomew in 2011.
Now, the Batang Pinoy through Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas included this as one of their national finals events here in Bacolod and surprisingly only a handful of local government units were able to form their team.

Team Bacolod was represented by Bacolod Tay Tung High School standouts Sam Josef Belangel, Miggy Corteza, Jesmar Pedrosa, and Errol Pastor from Cadiz City who will be joining the Thunderbolts next school year.

The quartet, coached by Tata and assisted by older brother Sammy Dave Belangel, took the gold with a convincing 20-15 win over Zamboanga whom it beat 13-12 in sweeping the eliminations with six straight wins.

Sammy's son SJ was unstoppable in the final game and Corteza dominated the board with the double Ps providing consistent support.

It was sort of deja vu for SJ's father Sammy who was the mentor of the Philippine team represented by USLS' Raymond Concha, Carlo Camus, Chitboy Benedicto and Linn Benedict Doble that won silver medals in the Nike Asia 3-on-3 Championship in Seoul, Korea in 1996.

This time, Tata and Sammy could only shout for instructions on the other side of the bench as the rules require no coach on the sidelines.

The game is too quick with no designated area for throw-in as long as it is inbounded outside the arc after a basket, defensive rebound or turnover.

SJ was a revelation as he scored jumpers as if there is no defense in front. The kid who started playing organized basketball at age nine with dad Sammy as his coach for little-known Eliakim Learning School has turned into a monster in the mahogany court.

Already listed in the notes of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scouts, SJ will be the next basketball star in line for the bigger leagues. It is no surprise as mother Mayet Rasmo comes from a family of basketball players, too.

And it was a blessing in disguise for BTTHS to have been beaten in the semifinals of the SeaOil-National Basketball Training Center as its final game was held in the morning of Batang Pinoy's 3-on-3 championship set four hours later.

The NBTC Bacolod leg champion will advance to the national finals at Ultra in March.

SJ and Corteza will fly March 11 for the US tour and exhibition matches together with the top players of Batang Pinoy 3-on-3 representing the Philippines.

As the saying goes, “Man proposes God disposes.”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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