The sports scene, both local and international, has been slowly but surely getting back on its feet to begin playing games again while the COVID-19 pandemic is still around. Steps to prevent sporting events from being potential spreaders of the coronavirus have ranged from extremely limited spectator admission to barring them from the stands entirely, while some leagues have sequestered their teams and players in “bubble environments” to practice and play in. In the Philippines the most that pro leagues like the PBA have been allowed is practicing with health protocols implemented. During this time, these already-professional circuits have been joined with a newly-professionalized league.

Yahoo News tells us that the Philippine Games and Amusement Board (GAB) has just approved the status of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 as a fully-fledged professional league for three-on-three basketball. The accreditation was publicized in a live-stream to the official Facebook page of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas this past Wednesday, July 29. GAB chair Baham Mitra and CTGP commissioner Eric Altamirano gave statements regarding the approval of the organization’s request to turn pro. Following Mitra’s formal pronouncement, Altamirano expressed thanks to the GAB on behalf of the league.

Following the efforts of FIBA to have official inclusion of 3×3 basketball in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, poultry company Bounty Agro Ventures announced that it would work with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the FIBA-recognized national basketball governing body, to form a then-semi-pro 3×3 league where Filipinos can play the usually-informal basketball format using standardized FIBA rules. This would qualify league players to join the FIBA 3×3 World Tour from which they could gain qualification points for a shot to field a 3×3 squad with Team Philippines for the Tokyo Olympics. The league was named after Bounty Agro’s flagship roast chicken retail, Chooks-to-Go.

Thus far, the efforts of CTGP to hone players in FIBA-format 3×3 basketball have paid off. With the Olympics postponed until next year because of the COVID pandemic, the national 3×3 team will have to wait as well for 2021 to participate in the 3×3 Olympic Qualifiers in Vienna, Austria. Commisioner Altamirano is very optimistic with the prospects of Filipino players to excel in this new Olympic sport, of which only 16 national teams were slotted into the qualifiers where they will be reduced further. It only shows that Filipinos can excel in this, considering we’re pretty short,” he says, adding that he also feels height offers no real advantage in 3×3 compared to 5×5/full-court.

Now that Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 is a pro league, Altamirano envisions it as an alternative career venue for aspiring professional basketball players to shoot for, if not with the PBA or other, still-semi-pro 5×5 conferences.

Image from Business World Online