Aware of the historic feat the Filipina ballers achieved in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas gave the Philippine women’s 3×3 team its due reward.
“History was within reach, and you all made us proud,” said the soft-spoken executive on Tuesday in an intimate meeting at the Bounty Office in Ortigas.
Gilas Women’s 3×3 — made up of Afril Bernardino, Jack Animam, Clare Castro, and Janine Pontejos — made history in the biennial meet, capturing the gold medal in the women’s division in the inaugural staging of the 3×3 competitions in the SEA Games.
The Filipinas went 4-1 in the preliminary stages before dispatching Vietnam, 21-12, in the semifinals. They then got back at Thailand in the gold medal game, 17-13.
That success capped off a stellar showing for the Filipinas, since they also ruled in the 5-on-5 discipline, marking the first time that the Philippines ruled the women’s competitions in the regional conclave.
“For women’s basketball, 2019 was a breakthrough year,” said Mascarinas, before handing out a handsome P100,000 incentive for each member of the team.
Also present for the event was Gilas Women’s assistant coach Mark Solano, who came in for head coach Patrick Aquino; and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios.
SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios — who introduced Chooks-to-Go to 3×3 basketball two years ago — expressed his gratitude to Mascariñas for continuing its support for 3×3 basketball.
The sport will not stop here, though, according to Mascariñas. He plans to expand the local Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 League to the women once it tips off in February.
“We renewed our commitment to actively support the SBP 3×3 programs — both at grassroots and elite level. We’re looking at making a 3×3 league for women,” he said.
He also hopes that come 2024, the Philippines can gain automatic qualification to the women’s 3×3 competitions in the Paris Olympics.
“Our target is automatic qualification. In the next four years, we should qualify in the top three,” Mascarinas continued.
“For the 2020 Olympics, we almost made it with little activity. But if we organize 3×3 basketball for women, we have a good chance — not just for OQT but for the automatic qualification.”