THE country's second-ranked 3x3 basketball player Alvin Pasaol has seen and experienced what 3x3 is played like at the international level, having represented the country in competitions in Doha, Moscow, Haining, Jeju, and Jeddah last year.
His main takeaway from all that is this: 3x3 basketball is a lot of more physical than five-on-five.
In spite being a big man himself, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing almost 220 pounds, Pasaol recalled feeling dwarfed by his European counterparts who have been kings of the sport of the last decade.
“This sport isn’t for kids. 5-on-5 is way different from 3x3,” said Pasaol after his team Zamboanga City won their second title in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM last Friday.
"In international play, everyone is tough and nobody gives an inch. That’s why you need to stay tough and strengthen your body. And the way you play the game, you also have to be mentally tough," Pasaol said.
Pasaol spoke up after the reaction on social media regarding the games in the President's Cup. Many said that it is no longer basketball since the defense have been too close for comfort while scuffles have happened during the preseason and the first two legs of the FIBA 3X3-endorsed tournament.
In the second leg alone, Pasaol and Cebuano Leonard figured in a scuffle with Nueva Ecija's Gab Banal and Tonino Gonzaga.
Pasaol admitted that he just backed up his friend when he saw him fall down.
"You can’t just sit back and watch while your comrade gets bullied. You need to help him out. I already saw him (Santillan) fall so I wanted to help him up," said Pasaol, who had a game-high nine points in their 21-11 win over the Rice Vanguards in the finale.
"For me, that’s just normal. I know Gab. The physicality will always be there on the court but outside of it, we’re friends. There’s no hard feelings," chimed in Santillan.
At the end of the day, Pasaol, Santillan, Joshua Munzon, and Troy Rike are using this tournament to train for the ultimate competition, which is the 2021 FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament which is set to be held in Graz, Austria in May. (JNP)