CALAMBA, LAGUNA — Joshua Munzon himself is aware that he could get emotional on the basketball court sometimes.
But the 25-year-old Filipino-American is immensely grateful for having a veteran in Dylan Ababou as his teammate during the 2019 season of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 with Pasig Chooks.
“I’m emotional when I’m out there. I yell at Dylan, and he’ll calm me down, he’ll tell me to just breathe and just look at the other side of things,” the top 3×3 player in the country recalled.
Ababou, 33, provided the leadership for the powerhouse Pasig crew that featured Munzon, Troy Rike, and Nikola Pavlovic, which ruled various legs of the inaugural Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 season last year.
Aside from competing in the first-of-its-kind league, that squad also flew overseas and took part in numerous FIBA 3×3 tournaments in cities like Doha, Kunshan, Moscow, Poitiers, Xiongan, and Kaohsiung.
“I’m just happy,” Ababou said of being with that team. “They’re all listening and that’s a great satisfaction to me seeing them listen and also seeing them get better and seeing them getting more successful.”
The former PBA cager has been with Chooks 3×3 since the start, and he’s found his niche in the halfcourt game. But beyond his skills, it is his demeanor that has endeared him so much to his teammates.
“He’s one of my favorite teammates I ever played with. Ever,” Munzon said.
“All positive all the time–even when you say some negative to him he’s gonna come back with some positives. Crazy. That’s who he is.”
Munzon, though, won’t get to play with one of his favorite teammates anymore as they will play for different teams in the upcoming 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM.
The California-native is teaming up with fellow national team pool players Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Santi Santillan in Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks. The quartet has been put together in one team so as to help them develop their chemistry further as part of their preparation for next year’s FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Ababou, on the other hand, is now part of Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC Green Gorillas joining floor general Ryan Monteclaro, Jaypee Belencion, Dan Reducto, Harry Petilos, and James Laput.
They may have gone their separate ways now but that doesn’t diminish even for a bit the respect Munzon has for Ababou, the third-ranked 3×3 player in the country.
“Certain guys are gonna take charge and speak more than the others and you can bump heads sometimes, but I think that’s the beauty of it. You either go fight and you’re not gonna get through the games, or you gotta fight and get over it and move forward to the next play. That’s the biggest thing [in 3×3], getting over yourself and becoming more of a team guy,” Munzon said.
“I’ve [played] with Dylan, and Dylan doesn’t argue with anybody. Dylan will argue with nobody–and I’m yelling to Dylan–so, like, Dylan’s the nicest guy I ever met in my life.”
The first leg of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM will take place on Wednesday, October 21.