With the induction of FIBA 3×3 basketball as an official event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it will be nice to see the UAAP do the same to its roster of events. Beach volleyball was added as a first semester event as its indoor counterpart is played in the second half of the league’s calendar. What more with 3×3 being played in the second semester as the traditional five-on-five version of basketball serves as the UAAP’s curtain raiser?
The traditional “full-court” game of basketball revolves more around a team effort as compared to 3×3. The latter, on the other hand, puts a magnified emphasis on the individual skill set of participating players, although, it is still a team sport.
Whether one is on the streets of Metro Manila or a provincial high way, the “street ball” version of basketball as it is called, is widespread as it requires less players to start a game. While walking around the streets of Malate I can evidently see that the game is truly an urban sport as people say since it can even be played in tight spaces or eskenitas.
With the Philippines recently being represented at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup and the U-19 World Cup, there is nowhere to go but up. Although people will say that it is the same sport that the Filipinos love, more exposure must be given to what is a condensed version of the five-on-five game we are accustomed to seeing. Regular exposure to the 3×3 game’s set of rules will certainly be a boost to players as they will not have to cram in adjusting to the nature of competition and style of play.
Getting the UAAP onboard the 3×3 craze will certainly be a big boost to the country’s efforts of making an impact at the international level. Although former DLSU Green Archer Jeron Teng and company had experience playing the variation of the game competitively prior to heading into the World Cup in Nantes, France, they appeared to be outplayed by their counterparts. The Europeans, for example, new the 3×3 game inside and out from rules to ideal tactics and strategies from their continuous involvement.
Nonetheless, Teng and his teammates in the Philippines’ 3X3 senior national team and their U-19 counterparts in Chengdu, China impressed fans and players alike and regularly appeared on highlight reels on FIBA’s official website and social media pages in the two recent versions of the World Cup. But with proper and regular competitions, one of them which could possibly be the UAAP, we can go beyond being in the top plays of a tournament and perhaps aim for medal finishes.
Although, there may be a concern in budgeting as universities are facing the lean years as a result of having minimal freshmen enrollees because of the transition to the K-12 program. In connection, there is also a very small talent pool of players fresh out of high school who are seeking to make the jump to the collegiate level. Unfortunately, FEU dissolved its fencing teams as a result from budget cuts and it is a sad sight to see as competition is hampered and careers of athletes may be completely put to a halt.
Despite the budgeting concerns and logistical challenges that organizers are set to face, introducing a new event to the calendar would be another wonderful milestone to the UAAP’s rich history and a welcome addition to the local sporting scene.