By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE local 3×3 basketball scene is set to be busy when conditions for on-court action permit to do so as two leagues have laid down their respective plans for the sport.
Recently named professional league Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) said preparations are now under way for tournaments they will be staging geared towards the further development of, and appreciation for, the growing sport.
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, which was established last year and founded by Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. President Ronald Mascariñas, is targeting a September start for its new season and will work around the challenges presented by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Commissioner Eric Altamirano said they are taking all the necessary steps and precautions to assure the safety and welfare of players, officials, and staff who will be participating in the tournament.
Their preparations cover right from the practices of the 12 competing teams, which they hope to start once the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine setup for the National Capital Region and nearby provinces is lifted, all the way to the tournament proper.
As per the plans of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, the tournament will be held in bubble to be set up at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Teams will be composed of six players each.
Everybody entering the bubble is required to undergo a series of swab testings (PCR testing) to ensure that one is free of COVID-19.
For the workouts, Mr. Altamirano said they are eyeing a single facility where all the teams can train and prepare. This is to make it easier for the league to monitor the movements of all players involved.
“We’re ensuring that we will cover everything from testing to contact tracing,” said Mr. Altamirano, sharing as well that they have been in close consultation with Dr. Tony Leachon, the former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and other health experts about the protocols the league will have to observe before and during the tournament.
He admitted that the situation with COVID-19 presents a huge challenge but believes that if all concerned work together and do what is asked of them a successful staging of their tournament is possible.
PBA 3X3 TOURNEY
Meanwhile, after the coronavirus pandemic pushed to the sidelines its plans for a 3×3 tournament early this year, the PBA said that it is now reviving the league’s 3×3 push and preparing the foundation.
The PBA board of governors, in a meeting Friday, named Alaska Milk’s Dickie Bachmann as chairman of the committee for 3×3. Also making up the body is NorthPort’s Erick Arejola, Phoenix’s Atty. Raymond Zorrilla, PBA technical official Joey Guanio and PBA great Ronnie Magsanoc, who is representing the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
“They will form the system, policy, guidelines, format and everything about the tourney. All of these are actually there already but they will make the finer details and complete the action plan,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
The committee is set to meet this week to further discuss the direction the PBA 3×3 event will take, including the best time to start it.
Meanwhile, Mr. Altamirano expressed hope that the PBA and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas could find a middle ground as far as the country’s bid in next year’s 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) next year in Austria.
The two leagues are among the parties involved in the OQT campaign as players representing the Philippines will come from the basketball organizations.
Top 3×3 players Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol from Chooks will team up with PBA stars CJ Perez and Mo Tautuaa for the tournament happening from May 26-30 in Graz.
Mr. Altamirano said he has yet to meet with the SBP and PBA on the plans for the team but hopes to have the meeting sometime in the near future.
“Hopefully all parties can agree, and we can come up with a win-win situation both for Chooks and also for the PBA players. I’m sure there are plans for the PBA players from their mother teams and we need to know them so we can plan on the best setup for practice and hopefully for them to play in our league as part of their preparations,” Mr. Altamirano said.
Three-on-three basketball is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo, Japan, in 2021.