Balanga Chooks-to-Go will play short-handed in Romania for the 2019 FIBA 3X3 Bucharest Challenger.
And it’s because Alvin Pasaol’s Romanian visa was not able to make it on time.
“Sobrang lungkot kasi parang maiiwan ko teammates ko dahil sa visa problem pero sobrang laki ng tiwala ko sa kanila na kaya nilang manalo,” lamented Pasaol, the 113th-ranked 3×3 player in the world.
Also not being granted visas to Romania were Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, team scout Anton Altamirano, team physical therapist Kharl Oaferina, and team photographer Joaqui Flores.
The reason why Karl Dehesa, Chris De Chavez, and Travis Franklin easily got their visas and are able to play in this level-nine FIBA 3X3 tournament that takes place from August 10 and 11 is that they hold US passports.
It will be a tough climb for Balanga needs to go through a qualifying draw to advance to the event proper. Balanga opens its campaign against USA’s Colorado City on Saturday at 3:20 pm (Manila time) before taking on Russian club Kochenevo later in the day at 4:40 pm.
The top team in QD B advances to Pool D with USA’s NY Harlem and Canada’s Edmonton.
Even with Pasaol out, locals Dehesa and Dechavez are not waving the white flag, vowing to give their all in this tournament that is a qualifier for the Debrecen Masters.
“There’s still a goal that we have and we don’t want to carry any excuses going to Romania. We still have to get the job done. No excuses, just make it happen,” shared Dehesa, Balanga’s team captain.
“I mean it’s gonna be tough but once again, we got to play hard for him, for us, and the country. We are playing for something bigger than us.”
“Alvin is a big loss. He provides a lot of scoring, a lot of toughness. He is the heart and soul of this team,” added Dechavez.
“Me and Karl are up to the challenge. When the lights are on bright, I wanna show up.”
Before he left Thursday’s practice, Pasaol made sure to talk to his teammates.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila, huwag nila indahin yung pagod. Para sa bansa natin ito e at para kayla Boss Ronald [Mascarinas],” disclosed Pasaol.
The Balanga trio leaves the country on Thursday evening.
Commissioner Altamirano though is working around the clock to find a fourth player for Balanga. One of the players he is looking to tap is 6-foot-8 American Lamar Roberson.
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