Dusan Domovic Bulut was named tournament Most Valuable Player after he helped lead Serbia past the Netherlands to claim their third-straight title in the 2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup.

Individually, the Serbians are also the undisputed kings of the sport, with each of the four members in the current national team lineup ranked as the top four 3X3 players in the world.

All four members of the current squad are dedicated three-on-three specialists. Aside from Bulut, Marko Savić and Dejan Majstorovic are members of the top 3X3 professional club team Novi Sad Al Wadhi, while new addition Stefan Stojačić came from rival ball club Limas 3X3 Teslavoda.

As one of the most decorated 3X3 players in the world, Bulut saw potential in the Philippine delegation, but admits they have a long way to go if they want to challenge for a podium finish in future world events, including in the Olympics.

“I think they are good 5-on-5 players, (but) I think they need to learn much more about this game.” said the Serbian captain. “As you see, Russia came with the 5-on-5 players, they didn’t make it out of the group. Philippines came with the professional 5-on-5 players, they didn’t make out of the group.”

“So you see first, three or four teams there with professionals in this sport. It’s much, much, big difference, right now between 3×3 and 5-on-5 players,” added Bulut.

Gilas Pilipinas handpicked four professional players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA): guards Roger Pogoy and Stanley Pringle, and forwards Troy Rosario and Christian Standhardinger.

Troy Rosario Gilas 3X3 (Photo credit: Glenn Michael Tan)
Troy Rosario (Photo credit: Glenn Michael Tan)

Among the Filipinos, only Rosario has prior experience playing the sport in the international level after participating in the 2016 FIBA 3X3 World Tour when it was held in Manila, Philippines. The National Team mainstay agrees that we should start to form a dedicated pool for the sport.

“I hope the program continues. I hope we form a similar team, because it is so fun to play. We are familiar with three-on-three action, but the rules and the ball (used in the competition) is really different. We have a pool for Gilas for five-on-five, I think we also need a pool for 3X3.”