Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Pro Team head trainer Aldin Ayo believes that talent searching for the halfcourt game will become much easier now that the country’s major regional leagues are all under one umbrella.
The leading chicken brand is now backing a total of five leagues — its own 3×3 league; the Maharlilka Pilipinas Basketball League; the National Basketball League and the WNBL; and the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup.
“I think it will make our jobs easier because of the merging of these leagues,” the decorated coach said in the recent One Chooks presser.
“Mapapadali ‘yung pag-scout namin ng mga players eh, especially players who are going to fit with the 3×3 environment. It is a welcome development for us and also, maraming mga players mabibigyan ng opportunities.”
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas is looking to have another team compete in the FIBA 3×3 pro circuit. It will serve as the sister team of Manila Chooks.
“Si Coach Ayo naman is on top of preparing the team ,and we’re scouting for more players. Just like in 2019, may dalawa tayong teams na we allowed to compete in the FIBA 3×3 circuit,” said Mascariñas.
Chooks’ pro teams during the 2019 season were Pasig and Balanga Chooks.
“So ganon din sana ang plano namin. Para if we have at least two teams, then rack up points for our possible qualification sa 2024 Olympics. In fact, ang target talaga natin na if we can accumulate as much points as we can through ‘yung liga natin na mas malaking liga ngayon, we don’t have to qualify to play sa OQT. We can work on outright qualification if we are in the top six.”
Chooks 3×3 has been on a rebuild after losing the likes of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike, and Franky Johnson to the PBA. And among its plans is to create a pool that will help fulfill the goal of qualifying straight into the 2024 Olympics.
The program previously helped the Philippines rise to the Top 20 of the FIBA 3×3 world rankings. That led to a trip to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria last May. Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 went 0-4.
So far, Manila Chooks features both experience and youth in Chico Lanete, Mark Yee, Mac Tallo, Zachy Huang, and Dennis Santos. The quartet played in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters qualifying draw last March, where they went 1-1.
The squad is expected to grow bigger should the program discover potential 3×3 players in the regional leagues. But Ayo and Chooks aren’t limiting their scope, since they could also look out for talents in the college and amateur ranks.
However, the program does not just want talent from its prospects, but also their full commitment, according to the champion coach.
“‘Yung program natin dito sa 3×3, long-term eh. Kasi we’re looking for that 2024 event, so hopefully may mga players na mag-commit na makapaglaro lang talaga sa 3×3 and other tournaments,” said Ayo.
“They have to commit sa team natin for that long. Kasi mahirap naman na trabahuhin natin nang trabahuhin, i-develop natin. Then pagdating doon sa pinaghahandaan natin na event ay mawawala.”