CEBU CITY — Before staging the most prestigious international basketball event to ever happen in Cebu, the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters, Ronald Mascariñas and the country’s top players retraced the very same steps they took that led to the birth of their mission to develop the sport of 3×3 basketball in the Philippines.
Mascariñas was welcomed warmly by the students of the Sisters of Mary School Girlstown and Boystown, the same place where Chooks-to-Go organized an age group 3×3 basketball tournament in 2019 which broke the world record for the most number of players with 3,043 participants.
Mascariñas surprised the Sisters and students of both schools with a donation of P1,400,000 each. On top of that, the godfather of Philippine 3×3 also pledged sports equipment to the schools and one Chooks-to-Go meal every month for all the 5,000 combined students of both schools.
“Three years ago, nangako kami na babalik kami dito pero nangyari yung pandemic,” said the president of Chooks-to-Go. “Humihingi kami ng paumanhin at babawi kami sa inyo.
“Sa nakikita ko rito sa Sisters of Mary Girlstown and Boystown, maganda ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa dahil sa inyo. Sana makatulong itong aming regalo sa inyo para sa operasyon ng Girlstown,” added Mascariñas.
As a show of gratitude to Mascariñas and Chooks-to-Go, the students of the schools prepared a program where they displayed their various talents to entertain their benefactor and guests.
Accompanying Mascariñas in visiting the schools were the teams of Cebu Chooks made up of Mac Tallo, Zach Huang, Brandon Ramirez, Mike Harry Nzeusseu, and Vince Tolentino and Manila Chooks composed of playing coach Chico Lanete, Dennis Santos, Henry Iloka, Dave Ando, and Ken Holmqvist. Nzeusseu gamely sang along with one of the students to the tune of “Pusong Bato” which delighted the entire audience.
For the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 teams, seeing the kids in both Girlstown and Boystown inspires them to find their more come the Masters.
“At first, sobrang sincere ng pag-welcome nila sa amin. Talagang nakaka-inspire at nawawala yung pressure namin sa games namin,” said Tallo, the country’s top 3×3 player.
“I have never experienced anything like this back in Canada,” said PH no. 3 player Brandon Ramirez. “It’s definitely life-changing. Both Cebu and Manila Chooks will be fighting for everyone here when we compete not just in the Cebu Masters but in all our tournaments.”
School Principal Sister Laresa Morasa, SM said in thanking Mascariñas, “Matagal namin kayong hinintay. Ang mga bata, madalas nagtatanong kung kelan babalik dito ang Chooks-to-Go. Nagpapasalamat kami sa Chooks-to-Go. Worth it ang paghihintay namin.”