IT’S hard to miss the outdoor basketball courts when one enters the Sisters of Mary School (SMS) Boystown in Minglanilla and these courts will be the venue in an attempt to make basketball history.
Close to 3,000 players, all students of SMS-Boystown and Girlstown, will play in the Chooks to Go SBP 3x3 Basketball Tournament on Jan. 12 to 13 in an attempt to set a record and help improve the country’s Under-18 3x3 world ranking.
Butch Aquino, the deputy executive director of Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP), said they’re embracing the 3x3 as part of SBP’s grassroots program.
“It’s my first time to be here and when you see the courts and the school, you can’t help to get excited. You can just imagine the things that we are going to do here,” Antonio told sports scribes during the event’s coordination meeting on Friday, Dec. 4.
“In 3x3, a lot of players can join and it’s much easier to implement. When this facility and its population was first brought up to us, it really drew our interest,” he said.
The tournament will see about 3,000 participants play simultaneously in the courts of SMS-Boystown on Day 1 and at the SMS-Girlstown the following day. The players are under the grassroots program of the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission (CPSC).
“When we learned about this venue and the kids, our bosses in SBP got interested. We can go for something big with this event. This will be the biggest 3x3 event that’s done simultaneously for this specific age group,” Antonio said.
“We start with this tournament right now and hope for the success and along the way we don’t know if we might get to the 5-on-5,” he added.
The event will credit points to the Philippines and that will help improve the country’s world ranking.
“In the Under-18, we are currently ranked 25th. The 3x3 will be played in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics so it’s important for us to get a good ranking,” said Mark Solano, the 3x3 head for SBP.
“The Olympic dream in basketball is so much possible in 3x3. What we will do on Jan. 12 to 13 is just a first step,” said Rommel Macasaquit of Melmac Sports.
The CPSC, which has been supporting the school’s grassroots sports program for more than two years, is excited about the coming event.
“I’m happy that the school was chosen by Chooks to Go and SBP. This is a huge opportunity for them since it’s a big event and a record attempt as well,” said CPSC executive director Atty. Ramil Abing in a separate interview. “I’m hoping for the success of the event.”
The SMS-Boystown has 277 teams with a total of 1,111 players. The teams will be divided in four legs and the winner in every leg will advance to the overall championship. The final four teams will draw lots and will play in a knockout match.
The SMS-Girlstown has 397 teams with 1,588 players. The same format will be used.
About 100 coaches will be tapped to ensure the standard of play of every game.
The organizers confirmed that the 6-foot-6 Kobe Paras, who played for the country in the Fiba Asia U18 3x3 Championship, will be in the venue as an ambassador of the sport.
The SMS Boystown has about 40 basketball courts inside the premise. The students enrolled in the school are in-house, making it a perfect venue for a sports program. RSC