LOCAL 3×3 team clubs Cebu Chooks and Manila Chooks will not rest on their laurels in a bid for continuous development in the international stage after going head-to-head with the world’s best teams in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Cebu Masters over the weekend.
Hell bent on turning Philippine 3×3 teams to world-class talents as well in the future, Chooks’ next order of business is ensuring a competitive squad first with the presence of a naturalized player sooner than later.
“That’s the immediate plan,” said Chooks-to-Go President Ronald Mascariñas, who has tasked retired player and now full-time trainer Chico Lanete for the search of possible candidates.
There are no definite details yet as of now but the potential Philippine reinforcement is likely to come from Europe, which is the undisputed benchmark of 3×3 basketball in the world.
Currently, the top five 3×3 clubs are from Serbia led by Strahinja Stojacic of Ub, which is also the No. 1 team. Serbia likewise is the top 3×3 federation while Latvia (Riga) is the reigning Olympic gold medalist.
Ub solidified that stature by winning the Manila Masters last May while Riga followed suit with a conquest of the just-concluded Cebu Masters.
Cebu Chooks and Manila Chooks, for their part, finished in the Top 8 of the Manila Masters while missing out on advancing in the knockout playoffs of the Cebu Masters before a jam-packed Cebuano crowd.
Chooks’ plan of tapping a naturalized player is just one of its roster moves to shore up its rankings to make it in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the Paris Olympics proper in 2024 — as its ultimate goal.
“We are not giving up on the ultimate objective that in the 2023 Paris Olympics, a Philippine team will qualify. With proper planning, dedication and commitment, we’re not giving up, it’s still doable,” vowed Mr. Mascariñas. — John Bryan Ulanday