Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 commissioner Eric Altamirano does not look at the forthcoming PBA 3×3 as a threat, and he even welcomes it since it will only help in furthering the growth of the sport in the country.
The soft-spoken executive said as much in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast on Tuesday, when he and Chooks 3×3 star Alvin Pasaol served as guests.
“For me, it’s really a welcome development na magkaroon pa ng ibang grupo na magpo-promote ng 3×3,” Altamirano told the session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, MILO, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
There’s no denying that Chooks-to-Go has been at the forefront of 3×3’s rise in this basketball-loving nation when it launched the first-of-its-kind league last year, with the aim of boosting the country’s Olympic hopes.
Chooks, together with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, managed to accomplish its goal when the Philippines reached the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, set next year in Graz, Austria.
And just a couple of weeks ago, Chooks 3×3 reached another milestone when it gained professional status following the approval of the Games and Amusement Board, headed by chairman Baham Mitra.
In the near future, though, the country is set to have two 3×3 leagues. The PBA, in a recent board meeting, has finally laid out the structure for the staging of its stand-alone 3×3 competitions, which could begin by next year.
Alaska Aces governor Dickie Bachmann — who was Altamirano’s boss during his last stint in the PBA — was named as chairman of the committee, which also features his fellow governors in Erick Arejola of NorthPort Batang Pier, and Phoenix Super LPG’s Atty. Raymond Zorrilla.
PBA technical official Joey Guanio and PBA great Ronnie Magsanoc, the current SBP 3×3 program director and himself a former Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 head coach, complete the group.
“They will form the system, policy, guidelines, format, and everything about the tourney. Actually, may nailatag na; they will make the finer details and complete the action plan,” PBA commissioner Willie Marcial told PBA.ph.
The PBA 3×3 is an idea pitched by Terra Firma governor Bobby Rosales during the last annual planning session of the board. It was set to roll this year until the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stalled those plans.
The league has been involved in the emerging discipline for some time now From 2014-15, PBA players such as Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva were sent to some legs of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters.
Then in 2015, Asia’s pioneering pro league had the PBA Women’s 3×3 tilt following the promotion of the Philippine women’s cage team to the Division 1 of the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship. It lasted for a season.
Himself a former PBA cager and a champion mentor, Altamirano said that having another league will benefit aspiring players, as it will open another door of opportunity for them.
“Kasi the more leagues that will open up, the more opportunities for players,” the 54-year-old said.
“At tulad nga ng sinabi ko, us becoming a pro league will give our local players another platform to be able to have a career sa basketball — hindi lang ngayon five-on-five, kundi meron na rin sa 3×3. So for me, it’s a welcome development.”