Thirdy Ravena and Kobe Paras flew to Cebu to serve as ambassadors for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3. But they ended up witnessing a rare sight of nuns swishing baskets on Sunday at the Sisters of Mary School Girlstown in Talisay, Cebu.
In their efforts to promote Chooks-to-Go and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ bid to beat the world record of most players in a FIBA 3×3-sanctioned event, the two stalwarts spent two days with the students of Girlstown and Boystown. In those two days, both players singled out the experience of having a shootout with the nuns as the highlight of the trip.
“Sobra akong natuwa, ngayon lang ako nakakita ng madre na nag-basketball. So sobrang highlight yun sa akin, na shoot pa niya. Sobrang enjoy,” said Ravena who served as a ball boy during the shootout.
“The atmosphere was amazing.”
Last Saturday in Boystown – which houses 50 half courts – the duo had an exhibition game versus the champions of the 2018 SBP U-16 3×3 Pambansang Tatluhan.
The next day, Paras and Ravena played with the bests of Girlstown, but the students were not satisfied and ended up cheering for their nuns to give the game a try. Three sisters obliged, much to the delight of the huge crowd gathered around one of the 36 half courts in the campus.
“It really shows that basketball or sports in general is something that can really unite people no matter what your background is,” said Paras.
“I’m really happy that we went to Boystown and Girlstown so we can show people that basketball isn’t just for boys. It’s for girls,” the second generation cager added.
“It’s not for people who are privileged, it’s not for people who have shoes, it’s not for people who have houses, it’s for everyone.”
While the tournament was ongoing, Paras and Ravena went around the campus to bond with the kids. Paras gave away autographs, while Ravena changed courts and played volleyball with some of the girls.
The grand welcome that both campuses gave the two athletes, Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio an unforgettable experience. The students surrounded the whole perimeter of the massive campus to welcome the entourage.
“Yung entrance, sobrang overwhelming siya na makikita mo na sobrang dami nila, and makikita mo sa mukha nila na masaya talaga sila,” shared Ravena, who the two-time UAAP champion.
“It’s not always about the championship eh, but seeing those kids very happy and thinking na inspire sila dahil sa amin ni Kobe, it really is the championship trophy para sa akin. It gives me a sense of purpose why I do basketball.”
All in all, the two-day tournament that saw 3,043 players was a huge success for breaking the initial FIBA 3×3 record of 1,898 participants. The event also added much-needed world ranking points to bolster Philippines’ chances for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m just happy that Chooks-to-Go gave me an opportunity to give back and at the same time make history by having that much kids to participate in 3×3 basketball,” Paras expressed.
“Iniisip nila na yung Chooks at SBP yung nagbigay ng favor sa kanila, it’s actually the other way around,” Ravena added.
“Sila yung tumutulong sa Pilipinas na makakuha ng world ranking points sa 3×3 para naman mabigyan ng chance ang Team Philippines to compete in the 2020 Olympics so it was great to see the boys and the girls to play in this experience.”
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