Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano is looking forward to sitting down with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to map out a suitable situation that would allow the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 to prepare well for its bid in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) next year.
Altamirano said he has yet to sit down and talk with officials of the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to formulate the right battle plan, but he is looking to do so in order to take advantage of the added preparation time afforded to the team now that the OQT has been pushed back to May 26-30, 2021 in Graz, Austria.
The tournament, originally scheduled last March 18-22 in India, was postponed following the decision of Japan and the International Olympic Committee to reschedule the 2020 Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Hopefully, mag-agree, and we can come up with a win-win situation both for Chooks and also for the PBA players," Altamirano said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
The OQT-bound team is made up of the top two Filipino 3x3 players in Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol and reinforced by San Miguel forward Mo Tautuaa and Columbian star CJ Perez.
With pro sports already being allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force to resume training guided by health protocols, Chooks 3x3 is now bent on pushing through with its season in September via the bubble set-up so as to help in the preparations for the Olympic qualifiers. Still, Altamirano said that they also have to consider the situation of Tautuaa and Perez.
The PBA is also looking to resume its practices, and is hoping as well that it could continue with its 45th season, which is only a day old as it got suspended last March 11 due to the pandemic.
"We have to consider also yung dalawang players natin coming from the PBA, may mga plano rin yung 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 yung mga schedules of our Chooks players and at the same time yung mga PBA players to be able to practice," Altamirano said.
"Kasi hindi naman pwede na mag-practice 'pag malapit na 'yung May diba, magka-cram na naman. I think blessing in disguise nga itong postponed kasi we will have more time to prepare."
For Altamirano, it would be so much better if both Tautuaa and Perez will be allowed by the PBA to join the national team not just in practices but in the Chooks league to further improve the squad's cohesion.
"Kung ako lang sana masusunod, I would love that. Mas gusto ko yun. If you combine the four players in a competition setting, mas maganda kesa yung practice lang ng practice," he said.
"Kasi nung March, before the lockdown, wala pa rin kaming competition nun, puro practice lang kami noon. Actually we invited a Serbian team just to practice with us, yung OQT team. Iba pa rin eh, iba pa rin talaga yung competition," he continued.
"So, I hope we can come up with that, or we can agree with that na payagan yung PBA players na kasama sa OQT na makalaro sa liga." (JNP)