While it is a known fact that Philippines is a basketball-crazy country, expect other players from different participating nations to try and make a name for themselves for the grand stage set in the upcoming FIBA 3×3 World Cup which will be held in the country come June 8.
Touting their skills and athleticism, the following rising stars, for sure, will be fondly remembered by our local fans:
1. Azuoma Dike (Nigeria)
Headlining the winners of last year’s FIBA 3×3 Africa Cup is Azuoma Dike from Nigeria.
Through his plucky playmaking and ball handling, Dike won the MVP honors in Tunisia for last year’s edition of the FIBA AfroBasket. Expect him to take over the facilitator duties for the upstart Nigerian squad, whose average age is 25 years old.
2. Stanley Pringle (Philippines)
The shifty playmaker from GlobalPort Batang Pier is set to make his FIBA debut, albeit on a 3×3 setting.
His explosiveness off-the-bounce and his signature hop step in the lane would be a familiar sight for Filipino fans. The ability to break apart the opponents’ defense will be key for him in towing the Philippine team to great heights. He will team up with FIBA mainstays RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Christian Standhardinger for the upcoming tourney.
3. Dulguun Enkhbat (Mongolia)
Fresh from the recent FIBA 3×3 Asian Cup in China, Dulguun Enkhbat is set to bring his scoring ways in the upcoming World Cup.
Mongolia was able to reach the quarter finals last Asia Cup but in a crucial game against Australia, they would miss key free throws to ice the game in their favor, eventually losing in OT. However, Enkhbat’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed as he earned a spot on the competition’s Team of the Tournament.
4. Amin Abuhawwas (Jordan)
Jordan appears to be one of the darkhorse teams in the upcoming World Cup, thanks in large part to Amin Abuhawwas.
The 24-year old guard has been a mainstay of the national team program for quite some time now – having competed in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge, 2017 WABA Men’s Championship, and in the recently concluded FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup last May. Jordan went all the way to the quarter finals but Abuhawwas was sidelined due to an ankle injury early, derailing Jordan’s hopes on advancing in the semis. Now, it looks like that he’s fully healed and ready to go for the upcoming World Cup.
5. Stefan Stojacic (Serbia)
Perennial contenders Serbia made some changes in their roster by replacing defensive anchor Marko Zdero with Stefan Stojacic – a sweet shooting guard from Novi Sad.
While the team will miss Zdero’s tenacity and leadership, the team’s offense will get a timely boost from Stojacic’s outside shooting and creative finishes to the rim.
Stojacic is no stranger to international scene as he has represented Serbia in various events such as the 2007 U-18 Eurobasket, 2007 U-19 World Championship, and 2008 U-20 Eurobasket, where they all won gold medals.
But more than anything, his most memorable experience was the time when he went up against former NBA MVP Steph Curry: