WEEKEND of hell!
To those knowledgeable of 3x3 basketball, this is what's in store for the 13 pioneer teams slugging it out for honors and cash purse in the pilot leg of the PBA 3x3 slated Saturday and Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
A merry mix of veterans, young turks, Fil-foreign players and warriors from the provinces makes up the cast in the brand new PBA event ushering in the Season 46 Governors" Cup set to open in the next few days.
Cutthroat competition from the group plays to the knockout round would separate the real contenders to the pretenders.
"Di mo alam kung sino ang makakarating sa taas," said PBA legend and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas 3x3 official Ronnie Magsanoc.
"I have to be blunt about it. Matira ang matibay dito. It's a survival-of-the-fittest kind of competition," added Magsanoc, the man who guided Team Phl to a gold-medal feat in the inaugural 3x3 play in the SEA Games in 2019.
"It doesn't matter kung outstanding ka sa 5-on-5, it doesn't matter if you're a top-ranked rookie. Iba ang laban dito. Makikita mo lang yan sa court."
Experts said physical condition would be a key factor. Some go for the veterans.
But whatever, everyone is excited about this new brand of play the PBA is to offer to the fans.
"It will generate a wider audience kasi makaka-relate ang Filipino people. Laro natin sa Pilipinas yan, noon pa," said Magsanoc, also noting the noble goal of the pro league to help fuel the country's quest to reach the Olympics.
"We've competed in the SEA Games and we like to play in the Asian Games and in the Olympics," said Magsanoc. "Hopefully, we can tap the outstanding players here to represent the country."
Magsanoc foresees gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking battles.
"Makikita mo sa last day, di na makatayo yan but they will compete because there's a pot of gold at the end of the tunnel," he said.
"And then what lies ahead - the national team, the chance to represent the country and a chance for a better life through PBA 3x3," he added. (SB)