IT WAS in the 90s when I first played my official three on three.

As a kid, I and my cousins would always form our own three-man team and play against each other. One time, I even played it in the States alongside Ricky Brown. Also in the States, we almost got into fights while playing against some African Americans. No kidding. It was so heated that they couldn’t take losing to some small brown Asian. In the melee, a group of Vietnamese took to our side against them and a fight averted. I did have a good shot from the three.

While I now sit as a member of the Board of Trustees for Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, I find myself involved with the comeback of the three on three. In all practicality, a three on three can easily be played. All that is needed is a ring and a ball, a half court that is. Limited space makes for some hoop fun in an instant. The normal basketball game shall require at least ten players and a whole court with two rings on each side.

A three on three is simple, a small group of friends can at will, play. Time and space is also not a problem for it. While it is said that there are more basketball courts in the country than classrooms, certain areas have it only half a court to play with. At least even if it were to be an official game, it meets specifications.

For the last three years we have officially introduced the game in the grassroots level and officially sanction for play per Region. In fact there were two Regional Finals in a year being played. One was for those under eighteen and the other for the under fifteen, both for boys and also girls.

The game of three on three in fact while it is so simple is actually played with more complication. All games played have to be registered with FIBA ThreeXThree.

Even players playing the game have to be registered. Each participant will earn points for every game played. Not points for score but points for playing whether it be a win or a loss. Each region has an event maker, a highly skilled person who trained in registering every event anywhere in the world. Points made from each game is awarded per country.

How important is it to be registered. World standing depends on the games played and points earned. How important is it for points to be made? It is very significant, as qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in twenty twenty will be based from the top twenty four in the world.

What would be the chances for the Philippines to make it to the Olympics in basketball is a dream. But for three on three we do have a chance to qualify because of points made. If you will ask, and to this moment we are at eight million plus points. In fact we are now at twenty one in the world. There is still a chance we can break into the top twenty. Although they will allow for twenty four countries to participate in the first ever three on three in Olympic sport.

It was last week when we did the Cordillera Regional three on three with thirty two boys teams and twelve girls teams. Winners of which will participate in a National Finals in Manila soon. Each team is composed of either four boys or four girls, three to play and a substitute. No coach is needed for it. Although a special ball is made official for one to play the game today. A Wilson ThreeXThree ball.

An official basketball court can officially have two games with four teams playing simultaneously. The games are fast and tiring. Again for every player playing, a number of points is given. Until the finals, a team must have made so much games and points over the others. Audience is captured since there’s four teams playing all at once and games are fast paced. Then another four teams after.

The regionals were dominated by boys and girls from the University of Baguio. It must also have been the experience of playing the game since it is already included as an official game in the intramurals and sanctioned by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. Pretty soon even the Baguio Benguet Educational Athletic League will introduce the three on three. All because we would want for the country to play as much three on three games and propel even further our participation and standing of the country in the Olympics in Tokyo next year.

In the recently concluded World Cup which I witnessed, Gilas is ranked among the top thirty two in the world. But in this, we obviously have a higher ranking.

Here I have seen Filipinos beat even the biggest of players. A game of three on three is more about balance and fluidity over height and heft. We surely will do well here. For underdogs this is the game to be in. A small school can beat a top university in this sport.

If the country gets to participate in the Olympics, each player may say that they had a hand in bringing the country to participate in the first ever three on three because of the points earned from enjoying the game and just playing three on three.

Forty years ago who would have imagined me playing three on three for twenty twenty that is twenty pesos or “bente bente” for a coke litro and pandekoko. And fast forward to today, it is still THREE ON THREE FOR TWENTY TWENTY.