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With Mo and CJ in PBA, Munzon looks to strengthen bond with Pasaol in Chooks 3×3

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Tiebreaker Times With Mo and CJ in PBA, Munzon looks to strengthen bond with Pasaol in Chooks 3x3 3x3 Basketball Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 News  Zamboanga-Family Brand Sardines Joshua Munzon 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Season

Joshua Munzon feels just as excited as his peers for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3’s new season this September, but the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament set next year remains his top-most priority.

“As soon as we started working out for the bubble, my whole mentality was to get ready for the OQT,” the country’s top 3×3 player told the CPT Crossover Podcast, referring to the centralized workouts Chooks has been holding at the Epsilon Chi Center in UP-Diliman in preparation for the league’s upcoming tourney, which takes place at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.

“I mean, yeah, we want to win this tournament and play hard and get better, but at the same time — I think we’ll play May of next year… That’s where I got my eyes on,” Munzon added.

Munzon and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 — Alvin Pasaol and PBA stars CJ Perez and Mo Tautuua — were already neck-deep in their preparations for the OQT, but the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic put a halt on it.

The 25-year-old felt like they were already making progress as a unit before the global health crisis struck. But he’s simply looking at the silver lining, saying that it gives them more time to gear up for the meet.

The OQT was supposed to be held last March 18-22 in India, but it has been pushed back to May 26-30, 2021 in Graz, Austria following the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the pandemic.

“We were really turning the corner on getting to know each other, playing well, jelling. We were practicing with coach Stefan [Stojacic] and the Serbians… They had a whole group of guys who came to practice with us, and we were going hard at them, and I think we were on pace, I’d say. I think we’re on pace to really make some noise heading into the OQT,” Munzon said.

“But now, it has given us more time. I think it helps that we got this time to prepare even more,” the athletic 6-foot-4 swingman added. “It’s just that we need to practice together. That will be the thing.”

It would be ideal for Gilas 3×3 to come together and start buckling down to work once again, but that may take time since both Tautuaa and Perez are with their respective mother teams in the PBA.

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Munzon understands the situation, though, and he hopes that everyone on the national squad can mentally prepare themselves for their return to practice for the OQT.

Working with what he has, Munzon looks to build more chemistry with Pasaol in Zamboanga-Family Brand Sardines.

“For those who are gonna play — me and Alvin right now ,and then Mo and CJ when the PBA allows them to play — we have to mentally prepare ourselves as soon as we’re able to step on the court again,” he said.

“Right now, only me and Alvin are practicing together because of everything that is going on with the PBA, so hopefully we do get a chance in the future. But right now, I think me and Alvin can just focus on helping each other out, and just getting better individually and playing together and developing more chemistry that we have now.”

When will that be remains uncertain, but Munzon is raring to get ready for the prestigious meet, especially now that some of the players and teams participating in the OQT have been playing in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour.

The World Tour returned to action last August 29 with the Debrecen Masters — which Stojacic and Liman of Serbia ruled — followed by the Hungary Masters last September 1, which was conquered by Karlis Lasmanis and Riga of Latvia.

“We don’t wanna get there and not be prepared. There’s the Masters going on right now with those same teams that are gonna be playing in the OQT. They’re playing against their competition in Europe as we speak,” he said.

“The OQT, that’s our chance of getting into the Olympics, and it’s a chance of a lifetime that doesn’t come around all the time and that’s all that I’m thinking about. I’m not gonna say I’m not thinking about the tournament right now, but I think heading into everything, that should be in the back of our minds to be focused on that too.”

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