‘Paris Olympics is the main objective’: Mascariñas as Chooks to Go Cebu Masters kicks off

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the Chooks to Go Cebu Masters 2022 3x3 that is set to kick off on Saturday at the SM Seaside City Cebu, Chooks to Go and Bounty Agro Ventures president, Ronald Mascariñas said the ultimate goal is to put Filipinos on the 3x3 court come the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.

Mascariñas—the godfather of the Chooks to Go 3x3 program that has pushed 3x3 basketball to the fore and brought immense pride to the country, thanks to the performances of both the Cebu and Manila Chooks teams in tournaments both here and abroad—said their eyes remain firmly on the prize of earning enough points to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

“This is one step of improving our chances of qualifying for the Olympics. Yun ang main objective natin sa activity na ito: to bring Filipinos to play in the Paris Olympics sa larangan ng basketball,” said Mascariñas.

The country is currently ranked #21 in the FIBA rankings of men’s 3x3 basketball. Only the top 24 teams in the world can compete in the OQT.

On Saturday, the Cebu Chooks led by the country’s top 3x3 player, Macmac Tallo, along with Zach Huang, Mike Harry and Brandon Ramirez, and Manila Chooks, which has Dave Ando, Henry Iloka, Dennis Santos and playing coach Chico Lanete, will tangle with foreign teams from Europe, Japan and Mongolia.

“Sobrang excited namin maglaro. First time ko to play as a pro player dito sa Cebu. Sa sobrang excited, gusto ko na Sabado na bukas,” said Tallo, a former two-time Most Valuable Player award winner in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. while playing for Southwestern University.

The Philippine teams have been training in Cebu since last week and they have no pulled no punches in their preparations.

“It’s been hell the past week. Ginagawa namin lahat na makakaya. Kami lahat sumuka sa sobrang pagod ng training sessions,” shared Tallo of their stay here.

Huang, who starred for Ateneo de Cebu in high school before playing for the University of Santo Tomas, is also raring to get back in action after he missed the recent 3x3 tournament Chooks to Go organized in Soledad a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m making sure makuha ko ang rhythm ulit and I’m hoping na lahat na na practice ko mailalabas ko on Saturday,” said the energetic forward.