Starting this September, the first professional tournament in 3×3 men's basketball will open shop.
Program director Eric Altamirano discussed the beginning of a new era in the sport after signing a partnership agreement with Games and Amusement Board yesterday.
Altamirano said the decision and dream to have a professional league came after the Philippines earned the right to form a national squad for the 2020 FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“This will program local players the opportunity to explore possibilities as a professional player in 3×3. We all know that 3×3 is fast becoming a popular sport not only here in the Philippines, but all over the world,” said Altamirano.
The tournament will be known at the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Tournament and is slated to have 12 teams in its first conference.
Interest to become a professional league came when Joshua Munzon and former University of the East Warrior Alvin Pasaol became the two highest ranked 3×3 players in the country.
Ranked 105th and 122nd, respectively, Munzon and Pasaol are eligible to play for the Philippine national men's 3×3 Basketball team that was initially formed for the 2020 FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament originally set in March 2020 in Bengalaru, India.
Because it was suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the tournament that has three Tokyo Olympics slots at stake will now take place from May 26 to 30, 2021 in Graz, Austria.
“I believe that the Philippines has a very strong chance of excelling in the sport. And we all know that after what happened last year when we were able to qualify in the OQT,” added Altamirano, who believes that this achievement was historical for the Philippines.
Other players, who have gained FIBA rankings are Santi Santillan, Karl Dehesa, Troy Rike, Dylan Ababou, Chris De Chavez, Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, and Leo De Vera.