Philippines finishes ninth in FIBA U23 3x3 World Cup
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 08, 2018 10:52 AM
The Philippines exceeded expectations in the FIBA U23 3x3 World Cup. (Photo courtesy of FIBA)
The Philippines finished ninth place among 20 participants at the conclusion of the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup held from Oct. 3-7 in Xi'An, China.
The Filipino delegation, led by UP Fighting Maroon Ricci Rivero, former UST Growling Tigers team captain Jeepy Faundo, FEU-Diliman's RJ Abarrientos, and San Beda-Taytay's Rhyann Amsali finished better than expected, as they were seeded 19th, and was the best finish among non-quarterfinals teams, ending their stint with a 2-2 record in Group C.
The youngest team of the tournament lost against Slovenia, 21-14, and Serbia, 21-16, but bounced back and won handily against Turkmenistan, 21-8, before beating hosts China, 21-15.
The team was coached by Meralco Bolts assistant coach and ABS-CBN Sports' resident analyst Ronnie Magsanoc.
"Against all odds, the 4-man roster of Ricci Rivero, RJ Abarrientos, Rhyann Amsali, & Jeepy Faundo battled Slovenia, Serbia, Turkmenistan and China and gave everything they had to make it the top two spots in Pool C, and cross over to the round of 8, the knock out phase," Magsanoc said.
Abarrientos meanwhile was hailed as the top shooter as he won the three-point shootout, scoring nine points (seven regular threes, one money ball), besting Aleksandr Antonikovskii of Russia and Laura Zdravevska of Germany.
The 5'8" guard, who averaged 13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists for the Baby Tamaraws last season is the nephew of FEU and Alaska legend Johnny 'The Flying A' Abarrientos.
Abarrientos and the second-place Antonikovskii actually were tied in the final round but the Filipino managed to finish quicker.
RJ Abbarientos of the Philippines wins the FIBA U23 3x3 World Cup 3 point shoot-out title (📸 Ronnie Magsanoc) pic.twitter.com/FhqZE4Gg4D— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 7, 2018
"We believe that we are on the right track and ultimately will be able to compete toe to toe against the top teams in the world in the near future. I cannot ask for anything more from a group players who made things happen for flag & country in less than 14-days of being together," shared Magsanoc
"In a span of 72-hours, these four boys turned to men in their bid to make the knockout round. Team Philippines eventually ended the FIBA World Cup under-23 competition 9th among the 20 teams," he added.
He also thanked the support of SBP President Al Panlilio and hopes to sustain the program in the future.