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A guide to 3x3 basketball

See some of the basic rules of 3x3, how the sport is gaining ground internationally, and how it could be
the next big thing in the Philippines

3x3 basketball (pronounced 3-on-3, 3 by 3, or simply 3x3) is also known as street basketball and is
considered to be the number one urban team sport in the world, based on an IOC-commissioned study.

In many ways, it can be as simple as pick-up basketball at local neighborhoods and has already been
played for the longest time by Filipinos on the streets with improvised rings.

It is a fast-growing sport that is heavily supported by FIBA, basketball's world governing body, through
events such as the FIBA 3x3 World Tour and the FIBA 3x3 World Championships.

The rules

Below are some of the basic rules and major differences from regular 5-on-5 basketball:

3x3 is played 3-a-side using just half a court and one hoop.

A team is allowed to have only 4 members with the extra person serving as substitute.

It has very minimal if not no coaching at all, as the game is fast-paced.

The winner is determined via a race to 21 points or whichever team has the higher score after 10

Each basket within the arc is worth 1 point, and anything beyond is worth 2 points.

The shot clock is at 12 seconds instead of 24.

Each team is allowed only one timeout.

In case there is a need for overtime, the first team to score 2 points wins the game.

If a foul is committed inside the arc, the team will shoot 1 free throw. A foul beyond the arc constitutes
2 free throws.
Each team is allowed a limit of 6 fouls. There are corresponding progressive penalties for future fouls.
The penalty for the 7th to 9th fouls of a team is 2 free throws. The 10th foul and beyond equates to 2
free throws plus ball possession.

There is no fouling out.

After every successful basket or made last free throw (except when it is followed by ball possession), a
player from the non-scoring team must pass or dribble the ball from underneath the ring (not outside of
the court) to a player behind the arc.

If the shot attempt is missed or if the last free throw (except when it is followed by ball possession) is
missed, the offensive team, upon securing the rebound, can go for a follow-up and continue playing the
ball. If the rebound goes to the non-scoring or defensive team, they must first pass or dribble the ball to
a player behind the arc.

There is an official FIBA 3x3 ball that is size 6 and is smaller than a regular basketball but weighs the

The full, detailed rules and regulations can be found here.

Former Ateneo Blue Eagles star and Gilas Pilipinas pool member Kiefer Ravena described how different
3x3 is from regular basketball.

"You think it's easy because it's just 3 on 3 but it's very tiring. The pace of the game is different," he
shared in Filipino and English. "You have 12 seconds of shot clock and you don't inbound the ball
anymore. It's tiring because not only do you play basketball, you also have to think.

"You need to think of a lot of factors such as fouls, shot clock, your teammates, and you're the only ones
playing and calling a timeout. You will sub for each other so you also have to think about the timing of
the substitution."

"I guess it's also fun because everybody gets to be a playing coach at some point in their lives," he
added. "Transition-wise, it's more of the style of play. There are no more fastbreaks and running but it
definitely gives you a sweat by how fast it's played."

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy executive director Butch Antonio likewise weighed in.
"I didn't play it but through discussions and chit-chats with the players who played it, it's different, it's
fun. Everybody's saying it's fun but it's not easy," he said. "Players say you don't have to run back on
defense but the counter to that is you turn around and you have to be at the defensive side right away."

FIBA and 3x3

FIBA first ventured into serious 3x3 projects when they decided to "experiment with an alternative form
of the sport at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore."

The sport – because it was simple, sustainable, and required minimal space, equipment and
infrastructure to mount – was seen by FIBA as "a potential catalyst for the development of the sport of
basketball worldwide."

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Manila West stuns Doha, cops FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters title

Manila West captured the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters crown, earning them a spot in the FIBA
3x3 World Tour final in Tokyo
By December 2011, the FIBA Central Board approved an international calendar of competitions for 3x3
basketball, which included the World Tour and the World Championships.

The World Championships, the grandest stage for 3x3, was established in 2012 and is played every two
years with men's and women's divisions (although there was a mixed division in the inaugural year). The
2016 edition will be held in October in Guangzhou, China.

FIBA has since expanded to creating a 3x3 Competition Network, the, as well as
individual world rankings and federation rankings. FIBA's plans for the sport can be further perused

The 3x3 vision for FIBA is "to increase grassroots participation in basketball, promoting the game of
basketball to a wider audience and offering all national member federations of FIBA the possibility to

They also intend for 3x3 to become an Olympic sport and have already made a request to the
International Olympic Committee to have 3x3 included in the Olympic Program.

The Competition Network is essentially all of FIBA's endorsed 3x3 events, while the
serves as an online community where players can track all events, scores, and news about 3x3. The
community also has an app for both iOS and Android where users can be notified about the latest on

3x3 and the Philippines

The Philippine men's national 3x3 team has been active since the 2007 Asian Indoor Games, where 3x3
was a demonstration sport. The team has since joined the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, the 2009 and
2013 Asian Youth Games, the 2013 Asia U18 Championship, and the 2013 FIBA Asia 3x3 Championship.

The country's 3x3 team has also qualified for this year's World Championships and will compete for the
very first time.
The Philippines hosted the Manila Masters, one leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, in July 2014. Manila
West, one of 3 Philippine teams fielded to compete, won the Manila title and advanced to the World
Tour final in Tokyo, where they eventually finished 5th.