Proving 3×3 basketball is fast gaining popularity in the country, the Philippine Men’s National Team — which earned a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics qualifier — is set to receive a special honor in the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night this Friday at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
Bannered by the dynamic duo of Alvin Pasaol and Joshua Munzon, the team is the 2019 Chooks-To-Go Fan Favorite awardee in the March 6 event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Cignal TV, Philippine Basketball Association, AirAsia, and Rain or Shine.
Ranked 59th at the start of 2019, the Filipinos ground their way to make the top 20 list by the end of the yea. They earned consideration for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated from March 18-22 in Bengaluru, India.
Previous choices as Mr. Fan Favorite ‘Manok ng Bayan’ awardee — presented by Chooks-to-Go headed by Bounty Agro Ventures Inc.’s Ronald Mascarinas — were three-time PBA scoring champion Terrence Romeo and future NBA prospect Kai Sotto.
Earning world ranking points for the PH team became possible after holding of the pioneering 3×3 league Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas, while at the same time, hosting two major international meets here in the country, both of which had level-eight ratings and above.
Santi Santillan and other top-notch Filipino players alternated to see action alongside Munzon and Pasaol during the course of the year-long campaign.
The Philippines has been bracketed in Pool C along with Slovenia, France, Qatar, and the Dominican Republic in the 20-team qualifier, which is divided into a four-group competition.
Only the top three countries at the end of the meet will gain a berth in the Tokyo Olympics, where the 3×3 event will be making its debut.
The Philippine 3×3 men’s team is just one out of the close to 200 athletes, personalities, and entities who made up the year’s PSA honor roll list.
On top of the awardees is 30th Southeast Asian Games overall champion Team Philippines, which will be bestowed with the coveted Athlete of the Year honor.
Also getting a chunk of the spotlight in the two-hour program is world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo (President’s award), PH team SEA Games Chef De Mission and PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez (Executive of the Year), and the legendary Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes (Lifetime Achievement Award), who will also serve as the special guest of honor and speaker for the night.
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