While there will be no high fives or fist bumps, the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM will still be a celebration of the return of sports in the new normal.
“Actually, ang main goal talaga namin is to restart sports,” shared league commissioner Eric Altamirano Wednesday in the online preseason press conference.
“And hopefully, through this, we’d be able to inspire other leagues to be able to start also.”
The latest conference of the newly-accredited professional league — which is also endorsed by FIBA 3X3 — is all systems go. Seven of its 12 teams are already inside the bubble, hosted inside INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The players felt satisfied with the safety and security inside the ‘Calambubble’, with health standards upheld from the moment they entered. “The experience was pretty good. A lot of safety protocols out there and they were well-executed,” said Joshua Munzon of heavy favorite Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks.
“Everything has been top-tier on keeping everybody safe and healthy.”
Already having undergone RT-PCR testing a week ago, all players had to go through another round of tests right before entering NU’s state-of-the-art new campus for the tournament, which has Gatorade as its official hydration partner.
Once inside, everybody will be well taken care of. “They cleaned our bags, got our temperature checked, made sure that we have meals to eat. Everything’s been taken care of and I can be assured that I’m safe and clean,” said Gab Banal from contender Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards.
Once the games begin, there will, of course, also be rules to follow, including the limiting of contact during celebrations. “We will still be practicing our health standards inside the bubble, so handshakes and high fives are discouraged during the conduct of the games,” explained Dr. Willie Ong, Chooks 3×3’s health consultant.
The same goes for non-players, who will have to observe social distancing while wearing face masks and shields.
While the tournament is ongoing, there will also be random tests administered. And in the case of a positive result, there are already measures in place. As Dr. Ong put it, “We will immediately bring him to the isolation room for retesting. And if found positive again, we will be isolating him and sending him out of the bubble then do contact tracing. The goal is for early detection and early separation.”
With all this, the Games and Amusements Board congratulates the Philippines’ pioneering 3×3 league in its resumption of action.
“We’d like to commend the Chooks organization. Thank you very much for helping us adapt and we want GAB to be in tune with the times helping you,” expressed chairman Baham Mitra.
“Carry on and sana, patuloy na maganda ang ginagawa niyo. Congratulations and let’s go!”