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Sports

SBP, Chooks To Go embark on 3x3 journey to Tokyo

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
SBP, Chooks To Go embark on 3x3 journey to Tokyo
Chooks To Go ambassador Kobe Paras with Bounty Agro Ventures president Ronald Mascarinas (left) and SBP executive director Sonny Barrios.

MANILA, Philippines — It’s all systems go as the SBP and Chooks To Go are joining forces to traverse a new route to bring the Philippines back on the basketball stage in the Olympics, this time using the 3x3 platform.

SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said the other day he broached the idea of Chooks To Go backing the effort to Bounty Agro Ventures president Ronald Mascarinas over a year ago. “It was a long courtship,” he said. “I thought we would take baby steps in aiming for the 2024 Olympics but Mr. Mascarinas wanted giant steps leading to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I’ve spoken with (FIBA 3x3 director) Alex Sanchez and he believes 3x3 is the easier route to the Olympics than 5x5. My opinion is it’s doable but it will take a major campaign to get it done.”

Mascarinas said the journey to Tokyo has begun. “It starts now,” he said. A pilot of the 3x3 camp, including tryouts, was staged by Chooks To Go in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, yesterday. The plan is for Chooks To Go to tap the SBP’s extensive nationwide network of 16 regional offices in conducting 3x3 camps while searching for undiscovered street ball wizards to bring to the national pool of eight full-time players.

“It’s always been my dream to support a full-time national team,” said Mascarinas. “The concept of a pool is to expose our 3x3 players to competition all year round and get them ready for the Olympics. My primary agenda is to restore the spirit of nationalism in sports. I take personal offense when leagues or teams hold back players from joining the national team and that’s just not in basketball. I think when there is no respect for the sense of duty, there is no love for our country and that’s why people throw garbage anywhere or steal from government so we become a nation of pasaway. I believe through sports, we can instill national pride.”

Mascarinas said two-time FIBA U16 and U18 World Cup 3x3 slam dunk champion Kobe Paras will be the face of Chooks To Go’s 3x3 campaign. He will be joined by 2018 FIBA 3x3 slam dunk bronze medalist David Carlos in promoting the initiative. SBP 3x3 director Mark Sollano and coach Eric Altamirano will be closely involved in the program. 

Barrios explained that the 3x3 event will be open to only eight teams in the Tokyo Games. “The top four 3x3 teams with the most ranking points in FIBA’s 3x3 planet are automatically qualified,” he said. “Then, FIBA will hold a qualifying tournament to pick two more teams. Finally, FIBA will conduct another qualifying tournament among countries that didn’t play basketball in the last two Olympics for one more slot. The eighth slot is reserved for the host nation Japan.”

At the moment, the Philippines is ranked No. 48 in the world FIBA ladder with 925,145 points and Slovenia is No. 20 with 3,477,182 points. Rankings may change dramatically within a short period of two weeks as countries pile up points by constantly staging competitions registered with the FIBA 3x3 Event Maker portal and participating in international tournaments. 

“Countries in the top 20 are given free tickets and accommodations by FIBA to participate in international 3x3 competitions so that’s our immediate goal, to break into the top 20,” said Barrios. “We’ll do grassroots 3x3 events so we expose more of our countrymen to the game through Chooks To Go and we’ll join more international tournaments. Coming up are the FIBA U23 3x3 World Cup in China on Oct. 3-7 and the last Masters leg of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 13-14.”

BASKETBALL CHOOKS TO GO KOBE PARAS
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