CEBU CITY – Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 teams may be facing tall odds in the FIBA World Tour Cebu Masters but the hometown bets are looking to feed from the support of the crowd especially with the dream of qualifying to the 2024 Paris Olympics is still within reach.

Photo from Chooks-to-Go

Basketball patron and Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas stressed the importance of performing well in front of the adoring Cebuano fans to garner valuable points in hopes to secure a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the Summer Games.

“Itong event na ito, we’re bringing the biggest tournament in Cebu, itong world tour masters. It’s the biggest tournament ng FIBA so this is one step to earn valuable points in qualifying to (Paris) olympics,” said Mascariñas during the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 Cebu Masters Press Conference on Thursday, Sept. 29.

“‘Yung mga ginagawa natin ng mga nakaraang buwan, taon, are really leading towards qualifying to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and hopefully, sana pagpalain tayo with God’s blessing makalaro rin ang Pilipinas sa Paris Olympics,” he added.

“Iyon lang ang aking main objective sa activity na ito to bring filipinos to play in the Paris olympics sa larangan ng basketball.”

Unlike in 2019 when the country had to scramble to collect points and finish within the top 24 teams in the world after initially only ranking 59th, the country has put itself in a good position to qualify to the OQT after ranking 21st, all thanks to the successful hosting of Masters and Quest events and the Philippines’ active participation in the 3×3 professional circuit.

The event isn’t only planned to be held in Cebu just because of the country’s bid for the OQT but also a way of paying homage to the member of the Sisters of Mary Boystown and Sisters of Mary Girlstown who supported Chooks-to-Go’s cause back when Mascariñas was starting to dream of making it to the Olympics years ago.

“We’re here to pay homage to the Sisters of Boystown and Girlstown kasi buong puso nila tayong tinanggap nung 2019 when we launch the 3×3 program of Chooks-to-go Pilipinas. Nalaman natin na bagong Olympics sport and 3×3. It was a rousing launch. We set a world record nung 2019 na pinakamaraming players na naglaro simultaneously kaya maraming salamat sa boystown girlstown for accepting us,” the Chooks-to-Go top honcho said.

Manila Chooks, led by playing head trainer Chico Lanete along with Dave Ando, Henry Iloka and Dennis Santos, will have to go through Ludhiana and Doha to survive the qualifying draw and advance to the main draw.

Cebu Chooks, which got an outright spot in the main draw being the hosts of the event, will take on Antwerp and Omaha in Pool A. Mac Tallo, Harry Nzeusseu, Zach Huang and Brandon Ramirez comprise the hometown bets.

Source: Manila Bulletin (