Cebu to host opening leg

Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — In another first in Cebu sports landscape, the province will be hosting the kick-off leg of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 season tentatively set in the second week of May with no confirmed venue.

“We see Vismin as a good venue to kick-off our 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 season.  A lot of our 3x3 players are from there and the passion for the sport of its people is overwhelming. We hope to do a conference each in Visayas and Mindanao to bring the sport closer to the fans,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. (BAVI) President and Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas Commissioner Ronald Mascariñas in a statement.

The event organizers said they are bringing the league to Cebu knowing that there are so many talents in this side of the archipelago capable of making it big in the 3x3 basketball scene.

In fact, two Cebuanos in Mark Jayven Tallo and Zachary Huang represented the Philippines in the 2021 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters in Qatar recently. Also, their teammate Chico Lanete once played for the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers under coach Elmer “Boy” Cabahug in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) some years back.

“I know that there’s a lot lof potential players in Cebu and this bodes well with our goal of producing more 3x3 players in the Visayas,” said Rhose Montreal, currently the NBL executive vice president who is also the chief driving force behind the creation of the WNBL, the country’s first ever professional league for lady ballers . “By having this 3x3 league, we will provide a platform for those CESAFI players who are good and talented but were not given a chance to become pro.”

“Also, there’s a good number of sports personalities in Cebu such as Lhuillier, the Soberanos of Cebu Landmasters, mayor Junnie Martinez of Bogo City and Chao Sy of Hotel Fortuna whose passion for basketball are beyond question. Cebu basketball will not be complete without these guys. May be they can help us out and field in a team for this league,”  she added.

UV Lancers head coach Gary Cortes is tapped to help run the Chooks 3x3 Visayas leg that is open to commercial and LGU teams.

The tournament is limited to only 12 teams on a first-come, first-served basis. Each team shall be composed of four members. At least two CESAFI players are allowed per team.

For CESAFI cagers to join the pro league, they must secure an SGL (special guest license) from the Games and Amusements Board. “Special guest licenses” are being offered by GAB for student-athletes to have brief stints in pro leagues in the the absence of collegiate leagues due to the pandemic. It is a privilege student-athletes can avail of at this point of time without losing their amateur status.

A formal letter will be sent soon by the organizers to CESAFI commissioner Felix “Boy” O. Tiukinhoy, Jr. about their intent of partnering with Cebu’s premiere inter-school athletic league.

“We will be partnering with CESAFI because we want to showcase southern-style basketball and CESAFI is really the revered name when it comes to it considering that it has already produced quite a number of basketball stars in the country in the mold of June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter among others,” Montreal said.

While Cebu is the main host, entries from other areas in the Visayas region such as Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete and Bohol are also welcome.

The upcoming event will not be in a bubble set-up since it’s only a one-day league but all participants will undergo a 15-day monitoring before the start of the competition as part of their strict health and safety protocols. Also, everyone involved in the league will undergo Covid-19 tests and only those with negative results will be allowed to enter the playing venue on game day.

The top three winners will receive cash prizes that will be announced soon, while the champion will advance to the national finals later this year in Manila.

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