One time, the International Olympic Committee called for a study which revealed that three-on-three or 3×3 basketball is the largest urban team sport in the world. Its prominence as a formal alternative to the larger basketball format was reinforced by regular international games. And if Tokyo powers it through, their long-delayed Summer Games will inaugurate 3×3 basketball as an Olympic sport. In the Philippines, the premier professional 3×3 league was begun in 2019 by Bounty Agro Ventures under their Chooks-to-Go brand. But apparently the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is seeing the potential of 3×3 to the point of starting development for it. They are close to finalizing their format, even.
The Philippine Star reports that the PBA is almost ready to introduce its own professional 3×3 basketball league. In a bid to get their offshoot launched as early as possible, the country’s national pro basketball league is looking to kick off their first conference next month, March to April. Two other tournaments, the second starting June and the third September, have also been tentatively scheduled. This is all outlined in a blueprint timetable that is due to be submitted to the PBA Board of Governors for approval by February 26.
Spearheading the PBA 3×3 project is the league’s appointed tournament director (and former PBA player) Eric Altamirano. This is very important. Altamirano was the first commissioner of the earlier Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3. He saw the fledgling league from its inception to its first season, during which the Philippine Games and Amusement Board (GAB) gave it full professional status. Altamirano stepped down as commissioner after the Chooks President’s Cup and was quickly snapped up by PBA to oversee its own 3×3 tournaments just this past January. He had as recently as last Wednesday, February 3, discussed proposed policies with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and Alaska team manager Richard Bachman, the designated in-charge for PBA’s 3×3 sub-league.
The scheduling of the 3×3 tournaments fall in between the conferences of the regular PBA season, first before the Philippine Cup, second in between the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups, and third in between the Commissioner’s and Governor’s Cups. Around 18 3×3 teams have been brought up to compete in the first conference, which will be played in line with FIBA rules within a bubble environment, to last 18 days. There is even a possibility that one of the teams could go to the Olympic qualifying tournament in Granz, Austria this May, for a chance to play in Tokyo this year.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia