SBP-Smart 3X3 Tournament holds first leg at the Meralco Orange Fit Center

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The recently concluded SBP-Smart 3×3 Tournament was a huge success as 24 teams came together for yet another day of 3×3 basketball last Saturday at the Meralco Orange Fit Center in Ortigas, Pasig City.

This event was supported by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) through Ronnie Magsanoc, together with SMART Communications and Torch as media partners.

Participating teams were divided into four brackets with six competing teams each, where they played five elimination games. The top teams from each bracket advanced to the knockout semi-final stage.

KOTC|STR8 along with FRONTROW fielded in two competitive teams in this one-day tournament.

Team KOTC|STR8 x FRONTROW was headlined by Carlo Escalambre, who played for the AMA Titans in the PBA D-League and Gian Abrigo, who played for the Adamson Falcons and the Mandaluyong El Tigre in the MPBL. They were joined by combo guards in JP Cauilan and Jojo Cunanan.

Team KOTC|STR8, on the other hand, was composed of some mainstays in the Knights Division led by Reynaldo Mutia, along with the Catacutan brothers Mark, Stephen, and Israel.

KOTC|STR8 x FRONTROW was ranked third in their bracket, while KOTC|STR8 finished the competition on a high note, ending with a 3-2 record in their campaign.

In what was the highlight of the day, KOTC|STR8 won over the FEU Baby Tamaraws in their fourth outing via OT, to leave a lasting impression.

With so much experience gained after their campaign, Mark Catacutan knows that their stint here will make them better players.

“Mataas yung level ng competition, malalakas din talaga. Kailangan mo mag prepare ng mahaba, extra effort sa bawat play eh. Yung physicality mabigat and adjustment is key, kailangan din maayos yung communication sa loob. Mahalaga mag-usap,” said Catacutan.

Gian Abrigo also shared that the 3×3 competition is a different event altogether in terms of the level of play, which challenged him to push himself even further.

“Dito talagang physical. Kailangan matatag yung endurance mo as a player. Sa ganitong competition, nagsasama sama yung mga best players, so kailangan handa ka. Magandang challenge, kaya ang goal namin siyempre, mag champion,” said Abrigo.

Rounding out the tournament was Team UP 2.0- Torch winning over the UP Fighting Maroons, 21-10, capping off a tournament sweep. Team UP 2.0 – Torch was led by former Ateneo stalwart Tonino Gonzaga and Meralco Bolts guard Josef Sedurifa.

Making waves in the 3×3 basketball scene in just a short span, this new league organized by KOTC|STR8 offers opportunities for Filipinos to hone their game as they try to make a return in the Tokyo Olympics come 2020.

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