GAB: 3×3 pro league will complement PBA

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    Baham Mitra
    Baham Mitra

    NOT a rival league.

    Games and Amusements Board chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra insisted the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, a newly-turned pro league, will not compete with the PBA.

    “Alam natin lahat na ang daming mahilig mag-basketball, ang daming magagaling pero sa higpit ng labanan and sa sobrang gagaling ng mga players ng PBA, mayroong iba na parang nasasayang. MVP ka sa collegiate league pero sa PBA hindi ka nabigyan ng oras, iyong opportunities mo siyempre (limited) nandiyan na sila June Mar (Fajardo), parang medyo masikip,” said Mitra last Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast.

    “While waiting, puwede naman sigurong mag-3-on-3 muna, or kapag may ibang professional leagues later on. Kami naman, while we cannot, we’re not supposed to, but we always remind them na walang competition dito, dapat ito, kung puwede, iba-ibang araw, kung puwede rin, iba-ibang network, tulungan tayo dito and iyong mga players niyo who would want to go to the PBA, dapat huwag niyong ihinto iyan and iyong PBA naman, iyong 3×3 players, siyempre welcome din iyan sa kanila. One big happy basketball community, walang competition and tulungan,” he added.

    The GAB approved Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3’s application to be a pro league Wednesday last week.

    Mitra, a former Palawan governor and son of the late Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr., clarified the pro license gained by the players of the first-ever 3×3 league founded by Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas is only for 3×3 play.

    “They applied sa GAB and we presented it to the board and tinanggap natin iyong interest nila to turn pro,” explained Mitra. “Basketball din iyon, pero 3×3 iyon, 5-on-5 ay iba. You will see in the license that will be issued, nakalagay doon ay professional 3×3 player. Iba po iyon doon sa 5-on-5.”

    Mitra, 50, maintained having a pro 3×3 league will also be good for the PBA.

    “We’re very happy na mayroong player na nagsalita na matagal na siyang nangangarap na maging pro. You know, professional 3-on-3 player ka, hindi ka professional 5-on-5 player,” he said.

    “Alam ko maraming players ng 3×3 na eventually would also want to go to the PBA. You know, parang developmental league din ng PBA later on iyan. Welcome din sa PBA iyan, mas maraming opportunities.”

    The likes of former University of the East wingman Alvin Pasaol, former La Salle big man Leonard Santillan, and athletic Fil-Am forward Joshua Munzon opted not to join the PBA draft last year to suit up in the 3×3 league.

    Other former PBA players who are playing in Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 League are guards Karl Dehesa, Gab Banal, and Jaypee Belencion.

    After getting the green light to resume training via the joint administrative order of the GAB, the Department of Health, and the Philippine Sports Commission, the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 is eyeing to hold its first season as a pro league tentatively in September in a “bubble” at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

    The complex, located inside the National University-Laguna campus, includes a dormitel with 32 dorm-type, 20 hotel-type, and four executive rooms.