Manila Chooks will not be able to participate in the 2021 FIBA 3×3 Lipik Challenger.
The Croatian visas of Chico Lanete, Mac Tallo, Zach Huang, and Dennis Santos had yet to arrive on Wednesday evening, forcing the brass of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 to make the hard decision to pull out from the event.
“There are things that we have no control of and this is one of them,” lamented Chooks 3×3 owner Ronald Mascariñas. “Since 2019, this is the first time that we had to pull out from a FIBA 3×3 tournament. And the players were really looking forward to it.
“But the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made it hard for us to obtain our deligation’s visas.”
The country has no Croatian Embassy, meaning the four players had their passports transmitted to the nearest embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. They transferred to the Croatian Embassy in Jakarta last May 7 but until May 19, the visas have yet to materialize.
Manila Chooks, which should have competed in the qualifying draw, had been training hard for the tournament under a bubble set-up at the Lucena Convention Center in Quezon.
“The boys have been raring to bounce back after Doha, but there are things na hindi natin kontrolado. Bawi na lang. That’s all we can do right now,” said Manila Chooks head trainer Aldin Ayo.
The LOC of the Lipik Challenger is still looking for a replacement team as of publishing.
FIBA 3×3 has yet to announce when and where the next pro circuit will be.
In the meantime, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 will begin the planning for its first conference this year. Manila Chooks will compete in the domestic league along with teams from the MPBL, VisMin Super Cup, and NBL-Pilipinas.
“We are looking to have a bigger tournament this year, and our team is already looking at possible locations to host our first conference, which will be the President’s Cup. A lot will be at stake in the tournament, which will include slots in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters,” said Mascariñas, who is also planning another Super Quest this year.