THE Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 is now a professional league after its proposal to go pro was given the green light by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB).
The development was announced on Wednesday afternoon, July 29, 2020, in a special announcement that was streamed via Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas' Facebook page, led by GAB chairman Baham Mitra and league commissioner Eric Altamirano.
"We'd like to announce that in the board meeting of the Games and Amusement Board yesterday, we have accepted the interest of Chooks-to-Go 3x3 to turn professional," Mitra said.
"I'd like to thank the Games and Amusement Board, headed by Chairman Baham Mitra, for allowing our sports organization, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, to become a professional league," Altamirano exclaimed.
Founded by Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. President Ronald Mascarinas, the first-of-its-kind league was established early last year as a way to help the country gather enough Fiba 3x3 points to make it to the Olympics. Its efforts eventually bore fruit as the Philippines made it to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will be held next year in Vienna, Austria following the postponement of the Tokyo Games due to the pandemic.
"I really believe that we Filipinos have a very strong chance of excelling in this sport. We all know what happened last year. For the first time, we were able to qualify for the Olympic Qualifiers. 16 lang naman yung nag-qualify and we were one of them. It only shows that Filipinos can excel in this, considering na maliliit tayo. I don't think height really matters when it comes to 3x3," said Altamirano.
But now that it has turned professional, the league will not just help the 3x3 cause in the country but will function as another viable platform for the Filipino basketball player to aspire for as well.
"This will provide our local players the opportunity to explore possibilities as a professional career in the 3x3 league," said Altamirano. "Gusto namin maging something aspirational for young 3x3 players."
"Siguro iisipin ng iba, hindi ako pwede sa five-on-five, so there's another platform that they can really aspire to become a basketball player. And by having a pro league sa 3x3, then there's something na meron pala akong pupuntahan if I start playing the 3x3 at an early age," added the seasoned mentor, who has been coaching 3x3 for quite some time now.
With this, the Philippines has joined the likes of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and majority of European countries that have its 3x3 pro league, something that Altamirano is extremely thrilled about.
But beyond being a platform, Altamirano strongly believes that finally having a 3x3 pro league will help the Philippines in its goal of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the global 3x3 scene.
"'Yung pagiging professional ng Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 will help strengthen our drive in becoming a dominant force in the 3x3 sport all over the world," Altamirano said.