Coach Ronnie Magsanoc and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 team are pumped to take on the challenge of competing against some of the best international teams in the upcoming FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Changsha, China.
The 15th-seeded team is grouped with the fourth-seeded Qatar, 16th-seeded Iran, 21st-seeded Samoa, and 22nd-seeded Thailand in the five-day tournament.
Ricci Rivero, who is currently the 178th-ranked player in the nation, is expected to do much of the heavy lifting for the young squad composing of Rhayyan Amsali, RJ Abarrientos, Prince Rivero, and Barkley Ebona.
The SBP-supported team is also expected to face international counterparts whose ages are around 25 to 35 years old, which will pose a different challenge altogether for the national squad.
Instead of seeing it as a hurdle, Coach Magsanoc would rather see it as a positive since it will hasten the development of his young wards.
“These are national players already even before if I was appointed as the head of the program. This is just a continuity of what the program is already before,” said Magsanoc in an exclusive interview with FOX PH.
“[Them] being young is not going to be a roadblock but rather it is an investment for the national pool of players. I put my trust dito sa mga players na magrerepresent ng ating bansa. I believe in them and lalaban sila,” he further mentioned.
Ricci Rivero and Barkley Ebona were quick to echo their mentor’s statement and they are relishing their chance to represent the Philippines while remaining focused at the task at hand.
“We feel blessed on having this opportunity to participate and represent our country. It’s not going to be easy for us kasi open age ito and sobrang bata ng lineup namin compared to other teams. We’ll give everything that we got and just play our game,” said Ricci Rivero.
“Expected naman na lahat ng makakalaban namin ay matatangkad pa sa amin at mas malalakas ‘yung pangangatawan. Maasahan mo ‘yung hustle and puso namin na hindi susuko kahit anong mangyari,” added Barkley Ebona.