The inaugural UAAP 3×3 Basketball tournament successfully kicked-off last March 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall. It was a one-day event and was introduced as a demonstration sport this Season 80.
The tournament ended with the FEU Tamaraws clinching the men’s division title after a 21-13 triumph over the UE Red Warriors in the finals, while the NU Lady Bulldogs dispatched the AdU Lady Falcons in the women’s finals with a final scoreline of 15-6.
Seven out of the eight schools in the men’s division participated, with only Aldin Ayo’s UST Growling Tigers missing out. Meanwhile, all eight schools participated in the women’s division.
Justine Baltazar, Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, and Santi Santillan represented the Green Archers while Lauryn Del Campo, Susan Ali Mohamed El Hadad, Marga Jimenez, and Kythrine Malarde were chosen by Lady Archers head coach Cholo Villanueva to compete in the event.
El Hadad said that their 3×3 team had a month full of 3-on-3 plays to prepare for the tournament and had the mindset of winning the championship.
Even after the event, some of these memories will last in the consciousness of not just the casual viewers and die-hard fans but the athletes as well. Melecio shares that it was an honor playing in the tournament since it was their first appearance and that the atmosphere of the 3×3 competition was different than the normal five-on-five setup.
Del Campo, on the other hand, was pleased with the tournament in general. “The crowd was huge and it was great being able to see ourselves in a huge screen. It was somewhat scary and nerve-wracking at first, but after the first few minutes of playing, all of that went away.” She hopes to play the same format in the near future. The same goes for El Hadad, who says that she had a great time since she was not able to see that much play time in the regular season.
The end game
Although the UAAP 3×3 competition is not even part of the General Championship tally, both teams gave their all and did not disappoint their fans. For the men’s side, Melecio believes that their end game is what they always do. “Just like the normal game, we always prepare to win. We ended up falling short but it was a good experience for us since it was our first 3×3 tournament.”
Similar to the other side, El Hadad also stresses the importance of winning the championship and the stellar focus of each step. “We want to win the whole thing. But in order to do that, we need to focus one game at a time.”
Melecio also notes the importance of this whole tournament, as he thinks that it deserves a spot in the general championships. “Since it’s a UAAP Tournament, I think it deserves to have a spot in the general championships. The flow may be different, but it is still considered as competing against other schools just like the normal five-on-five game.