HAVING different players from two different pro leagues should not pose a problem for Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the FIBA 3×3 Olympic qualifying tournament.
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 commissioner Eric Altamirano said Fil-Am forward Joshua Munzon and wingman Alvin Pasaol could combine well with guard CJ Perez of Terra Firma and center Mo Tautuaa of San Miguel Beer of the PBA.
The four members of the pool just need time— plenty of it— to get along.
“We have to consider iyong dalawang players natin coming from the PBA, may mga plano rin iyong mother teams nila, ‘di ba? They’re about to restart na rin. So I think it’s a matter of plotting it out para ma-manage natin iyong mga schedules of our Chooks players and at the same time iyong mga PBA players to be able to practice,” Altamirano said last Tuesday in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast.
“Kasi hindi naman puwede na mag-practice kapag malapit na iyong (month of) May, ‘di ba? Magka-cram na naman. I think blessing in disguise nga itong postponement because we will have more time to prepare,” he added.
The FIBA 3×3 Olympic qualifiers was originally set last March 18 to 22 in Bengaluru, India but was postponed and moved to May 26-30, 2021 in Graz, Austria due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Altamirano, 54, said he is open to the idea of having the 6-foot-1 Perez and the 6-foot-8 Tautuaa join Munzon and Pasaol in the newly-turned pro 3×3 league.
The 6-foot-4 Munzon is the No. 1 3×3 player in the Philippines, while the 6-foot-3 Pasaol, a former University of the East standout, is ranked No. 2.
“Kung ako lang sana masusunod, I would love that. Mas gusto ko iyon. If you combine the four players in a competition setting, mas maganda kaysa iyong practice lang nang practice,” Altamirano said in the weekly public sports program powered by Smart and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, Milo, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., with Upstream Media as webcast partner.
“Kasi noong March, before the lockdown, wala pa rin kaming competition noon, puro practice lang kami. Actually, we invited a Serbian team just to practice with us, iyong OQT team. Iba pa rin, iba pa rin talaga iyong competition.”
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 PBA’s keenly-awaited return to the practice gyms was delayed anew after Metro Manila and four other nearby provinces were placed under a two-week modified enhanced community quarantine last Aug. 4 due to the surge of COVID-19 infections. If and when the government gives the nod, it is eyeing to resume its drastically disrupted season by mid-October.
“So, I hope we can come up with that, or we can agree with that na payagan iyong PBA players na kasama sa OQT na makalaro sa liga,” said Altamirano, a champion coach with Purefoods and Mobiline in the PBA and with National University in the UAAP.
“Hopefully, mag-agree, and we can come up with a win-win situation both for Chooks and also for the PBA players.”