Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Santi Santillan took different paths before joining forces in the 2020 season of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3.
Munzon, the country’s top 3×3 player, began his 3×3 career with the stacked Pasig-Grindhouse Kings team that also had Dylan Ababou, Troy Rike, and Taylor Statham. As expected, that crack team dominated the first-ever President’s Cup.
Rike, ranked no. 5, would be left out of Pasig in the import-laden 2019 Patriot’s Cup. With a chip on his shoulder, he proved that he can be one of the best by steering Phenom-Basilan to the championship, together with Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, and guest player Marcus Hammonds.
During those two conferences, no. 2 Pasaol and no. 6 Santillan – both with Balanga – finished in second place. But in the season-ending Magiting Cup, the duo finally tasted the championship as they, together with Karl Dehesa and Chris De Chavez, finally overcame Pasig in the Grand Finals.
The quartet then joined forces come the 2020 season of the league, as the 2020 President’s Cup also served as the training ground for the national team. They carried with them the city of Zamboanga.
As expected, the team dominated the field, winning four of the five legs inside Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna – including the Grand Finals.
Zamboanga City then headed to Doha with high hopes, since they were still in game shape unlike the rest of the competition.
But what happened in Doha was unexpected.
After a gallant stand against eventual-runner up Liman (15-22), the quartet – carrying the name Manila Chooks – suffered an upset of epic proportions against unranked squad Lusail, 14-19, to bow out of the Doha World Tour Masters.
It became the end of the 3×3 road for Munzon, Pasaol, Rike, and Santillan. The four have opted to join the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft. The past two years were actually borrowed time for Philippine 3×3.
Besides this, league commissioner Eric Altamirano also resigned from his post right after the President’s Cup. A month later, one of the voices of the league Sudan Daniel passed away due to a vicious asthma attack.
As successful as Chooks 3×3’s Calambubble was, it also marked the end of the first chapter of the country’s first-ever professional 3×3 basketball league.
Come 2021, a new chapter is set to be written. New players will rise as Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas embarks on its road to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
And these new players will be hoping to be like or upstage Munzon, Pasaol, Rike, and Santillan.