The maiden season of the Philippine Basketball Association 3×3 tournament unfurls with 13 teams all seeing action in the opening leg on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Special interest in the 17-game opener is expected to be on the TNT Tropang Giga, which has a female coach in Mau Belen, who will trade wits with her male counterpart with Limitless Appmasters when their teams collide at 3.40 pm in Pool A.
Belen was officially the first female to become part of a team coaching staff in the PBA with her brief stint with 2021 Philippine Cup Champion TNT Tropang Giga.
So far, she has been getting praises from her wards.
“So far, so good. Sobrang okay siya ngayon sa’min. As in sobrang nakatutok siya sa’min,” said guard TNT guard Alvin Vosotros, who will team up with Samboy De Leon and Lervin Flores. They will be joined later by Fil-Am Jeremiah Gray, who is still in quarantine.
Limitless Appmasters, owned by Phoenix Super LPG, also kicks off hostilities against Magnolia in the first leg with their 2 p.m. encounter in Pool A.
Zamboanga Valientes and Platinum Karaoke – two of three guest ballclubs in the PBA 3×3 inaugurals – debut at 2:25 p.m. in another Pool A showdown.
Pool B squads Barangay Ginebra 3×3 and Sista Super Sealers (Rain or Shine) hit the halfcourt at 2:50 p.m. before Pool C’s Cavitex Braves (NLEX) and guest club Pioneer Pro Tibay clash at 3:15 p.m.
TNT Tropang Giga, fresh from the Philippine Cup conquest of their five-on-five counterparts, kick off their bid in Pool A at 3:40 p.m. against Limitless.
Launching their quests later in the day are Terrafirma 3×3 (Pool B), NorthPort (Pool C), Meralco (Pool B), and San Miguel Beer (Pool C).
The Dyip battle the Gin Kings at 4:30 p.m., the Batang Pier tangle with Pioneer at 4:55 p.m., the Bolts face Sista at 6:10 p.m., and the Beermen duel NorthPort at 6:35 p.m. in their respective first games.
The stacked PBA 3×3 opening day plays its last match at 8:40 p.m. with the single round-robin eliminations continuing Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. followed immediately by the knockout quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
The Top 3 teams in Pool A and the Top 2 in Pools B and C will advance into the Last 8, while the third-ranked crews in Pools B and C will contest the eighth berth.
“This tournament not only aims to grow the 3×3 brand of basketball but also reach out to a new generation of PBA fans by showing this product that is fast, exciting, and competitive,” said PBA 3×3 chairman Richard Bachmann of Alaska.
“Exciting times ahead and it starts now,” he added.
The PBA 3×3 stakes P100,000 for the leg champion, P50,000 for the runner-up and P30,000 for the third-placer.