New-look San Juan aim for sustained success on FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023
SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - San Juan will have a new-look team this year as Puerto Rico, an OG 3x3 nation, eye next year's Paris Olympics.
The Caribbean nation stormed back onto the 3x3 map in 2021 after a drought following their pioneering efforts in the early years of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
But Puerto Rico believe they can go up a level and are looking at building chemistry with the Paris Olympics only 18 months away.
The Puerto Rico Olympic Committee and the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation have supported Team San Juan by sponsoring five players to fully dedicate to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023.
"In order to keep moving forward the 3x3 high level program in Puerto Rico, I needed the players to be fully committed this year," said Oscar Hourruitiner, San Juan manager and executive director of the Puerto Rico 3x3 national team.
Flying the flag for San Juan will be young guns Adrian Ocasio , Leandro Allende, Luis Cuascut, Antonio Ralat and Brian Vazquez.
"They are all young professional players, but as free agents, we signed them to contracts with the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee," Hourruitiner said.
"And they are very talented too, with some 3x3 experience."
Allende, Ocasio and Cuascut won the gold medal in Puerto Rico's unbeaten 3x3 triumph at the Junior Pan American Games in 2021.
Rising star Ocasio has already played for San Juan on the World Tour in two Masters and represented Puerto Rico at the FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup 2021.
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Allende and Ralat played in the San Juan Challenger last year, while Vazquez has represented Puerto Rico at junior 3x3 events.
Vazquez's 3x3 career highlight to date was when he won the 3x3 Puerto Rico Open in 2019.
"They will be very competitive and will improve as they keep playing Quests and Challengers almost every single weekend," Hourruitiner said.
"The goal is to crack into the World Tour and keep Puerto Rico’s national federation ranking top 20 to qualify to the Olympic Qualifier next year."
San Juan are deadly serious about improving and that spells trouble for their opponents in 2023 and beyond.