Filipina cagers rewarded for historic SEA Games 3x3 campaign

Filipina cagers rewarded for historic SEA Games 3x3 campaign
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascarinas (center) talks with members of the Gilas Women's 3x3 squad.

MANILA, Philippines – Aware of the historic feat by Filipina ballers in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league owner Ronald Mascarinas gave the Philippine women's 3x3 team its due reward.

"History was within reach and you all made us proud," the soft-spoken executive said in an intimate meeting at the Bounty Office in Ortigas on Tuesday.

Gilas Women's 3x3, made up of Afril Bernardino, Jack Animam, Clare Castro and Janine Pontejos, made history in the biennial meet as it captured the gold medal in the women's division in the inaugural staging of the 3x3 competitions in the SEA Games.

The Filipinas went 4-1 in the preliminary stages before dispatching Vietnam, 21-12, in the semifinals, before getting back at Thailand in the gold medal game, 17-13.

That success capped off a stellar showing for the Filipinas as they also ruled in the 5x5 discipline, marking the first time that the Philippines ruled the women's competitions in the regional conclave.

"For women's basketball, 2019 was a breakthrough year," said Mascarinas, before handing out a handsome P100,000 incentive for each of the members of the team.

Also present for the event was Gilas Women's assistant coach Mark Solano, who came in for head coach Patrick Aquino and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios.

This, however, won't stop here, Mascarinas said, as he plans to expand the local Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League to the women once it tips off in February.

"We renewed our commitment. We're looking at making a 3x3 league for women," he said, hoping that come 2024, the Philippines can also gain automatic qualification for the women's 3x3 competitions in the Paris Olympics.

"Our target is automatic qualification. In the next four years, we should qualify in the top three," Mascarinas continued.

"For the 2020 Olympics, we almost made it with little activity, but if we organize 3x3 basketball for women, we have a good chance, not just for OQT but for the automatic qualification."

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