Kiefer Ravena hopeful 3x3 gets added to UAAP calendar

MANILA, Philippines – A new sport may be added to the UAAP calendar soon. 

Former Ateneo Blue Eagles star Kiefer Ravena bared plans for the possible inclusion of 3x3 basketball to the UAAP calendar as early as next season. 

Ravena, who is tournament director for the first-ever Intercollegiate 3x3 Invitationals (i3i) happening this weekend, shared Wednesday, March 16 that the idea has reached the UAAP Board and they are already considering it with Fr. Ermito De Sagon, O.P., director of the UST Institute of Physical Education and Athletics, spearheading the effort.

“We talked to Fr. De Sagon of UST already and he said he wants to propose this as part of the UAAP calendar even for next season already,” said Ravena during the press conference for i3i.

“I think they really want to push this with the UAAP Board and make it part of the UAAP calendar. What they see is it’s something like with volleyball, (where) they have the beach volleyball as the side event or a primer to their main indoor sport.”

Ravena said he met De Sagon two weeks ago and found out the latter had already presented to the UAAP Board his plans. Ravena and his team at Rack Sports, which is organizing i3i, offered to handle a potential 3x3 UAAP tournament should it materialize. 

“This is something that we also want to do and push through to bridge the gap or bridge the lull when there is no basketball in the UAAP. Or even during the season it can be in between the first and the second game, one game only. Something like that. We’ll find a way,” said Ravena. 

“There is already an initiative among other UAAP Board members to make it a UAAP sport. I hope it happens because it’s another way of showing your talent. That’s what we really want, to maximize players’ talent. Those who can’t play in the 5 on 5 game, they can represent their school in 3x3.” 

3x3 at the SEA Games, grassroots program 

The plans for 3x3 also extend to the Southeast Asian Games. 

Butch Antonio, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deputy executive director, shared the FIBA 3x3 ambassador already sent a letter that will be endorsed by the SBP to the Philippine Olympic Committee. The POC can then make a formal presentation to SEA Games organizers about the inclusion of 3x3. 

“If there’s big clamor, it’s good. It might have ground swell and it might become a sport next year in Malaysia,” Antonio said Wednesday. 

The potential for 3x3 basketball as a way to showcase and expose more Filipino basketball talent is appealing as well to the SBP as they plan on expanding the i3i initiative and put in place a nationwide grassroots program. 

“As far as how we can grow the sport or 3x3 basketball in the country, initially we’re trying to set a nationwide 3x3 grassroots program that leads into a tournament. There’s a story. It will lead up into a national championship,” Antonio explained. 

“That’s one way, at least we attack that level and introduce the sport to the country.” 

FIBA, basketball’s world body who has long been in full support of 3x3 globally, sees much potential for Filipinos in the sport and have constantly been prodding the SBP to come up with a plan or it. Both parties are in constant touch through conference calls.

The Philippines has been participating in 3x3 events since 2007 and will be joining the FIBA 3x3 World Championships for the first time this October. – Rappler.com