Stefan Stojacic (L) will be tapped as a coach for the Philippine 3x3 team in preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March
FIBA photo
Chooks-to-Go 3x3 squad gets Serbian coach for Olympic qualifiers preparation
(Philstar.com) - January 18, 2020 - 2:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas team has tapped world-class coach Stefan Stojacic and trainer Darko Krsman of Serbia to help head coach Eric Altamirano and his team prepare for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated March 18 to 20 in New Delhi, India.

The 30-year-old Stojacic has won the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Tour MVP and playing for top club squad Iman while coaching a talented China on the side and, along with world-renowned conditioning coach Krsman, should help the Filipinos with their vast international experience as they seek a spot in the Tokyo Games this July.

"They called me here to share my experience and help them for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. That's the first goal, prepare the team for the Qualifiers," said Stojacic, who was also part of the team that snared the gold medal in the World Cup in Bulacan two years back.

"This is not the first time I am coaching since I'm also coaching the Chinese national team. Coach Eric (Altamirano) likes how China plays so we came to the conclusion for me to come here and help the Philippines," he added.

In order for the Filipinos to have a chance in the OQT, Stojacic stressed the need to veer away from the mistake of playing mostly one-on-one basketball.

In fact, Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, the country’s top two local players, fell into this trap and played too much one-on-one and finished as high as the quarterfinal round only.

"They are really good, quality players and have great individual skills. They have to change their mindset since the 3x3 and 5-on-5 games are totally different. So that's the thing we should work on,” said Stojacic.

Apart from Munzon and Pasaol, the other members of the country’s OQT-bound pool are Dylan Ababou, Karl Dehesa, Leonard Santillan, Chris De Chavez, Gab Banal, Jaypee Belencion, Leo De Vera, and Ryan Monteclaro.

There is an outside chance the squad would tap a player or two from the Philippine Basketball Association.

And Stojacic is hoping he could open the Filipinos eyes to how 3x3 basketball should be played.

"Coach Stefan opened my eyes to the pace of the game and not just have my foot on the gas pedal. It's about slowing the game down, reading the defense, and practicing a lot of patience. I think I forgot that over time. 3x3 is about reading the defense," said Munzon.

Stojacic left the country Saturday while Krsman will remain as the team focuses on building more muscle and stay in tip-top shape for the OQT.

He will return next month with added artillery as he has set-up multiple tune-ups with 10th-ranked team in the world Vrbas, that features his brother Stahinja, Marko Brankovic, Danilo Mijatovi?, Goran Ostojic, Ivan Popovic, and Filip Simic.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas is also trying to bring in the Canadian national team next month for another series of tune-ups.

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