THE ROAD to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continues as top Filipino pro squads Pasig Chooks and Balanga Chooks compete in the FIBA 3X3 Moscow Challenger this June 7 to 8 in Russia. The said event will serve as a qualifier for the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Prague Masters in the Czech Republic this August 3 and 4 where more points are at stake to help increase the country’s FIBA ranking.
Pasig will be bannered by familiar faces Taylor Statham, Joshua Munzon, Dylan Ababou and come backing import Nikola Pavlovic who is now fully recovered from a rib injury. Bataan boasts of regulars Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, import Travis Franklin and newcomer Chris de Chavez who was acquired from the Valenzuela Classic to take the place of Leonard Santillan.
The Philippines is the only Asian country invited to match skills with 14 other teams from Europe and the United States. Pasig has been assigned to Group B together with heavyweight Riga of Latvia and Antwerp of Belgium.
Pasig and Balanga competed in the season-opening World Tour Masters leg in Doha, Qatar last April wherein they ended in Fifth and Sixth place respectively. Pasig also played in the recent Kunshan Challenger where they failed to get past the group stages losing all their two games.
Pasig earned its spot in Moscow on the strength of their showing in Doha and Kunshan. On the other hand, Balanga was given a wild card entry by the organizers and will now have to hurdle a qualifying round against Odessa of Ukraine and local team Moscow Inanomo before proceeding to the main draw later in the day.
After two completed legs in the FIBA 3X3 World Tour in Doha and Chengdu, China, Pasig has 50 points while Balanga has 45 points for Eighth and Ninth Place among 22 teams. Only the top 12 after the 11 scheduled legs will qualify for the season finale to be hosted by Utsonomiya. Japan from November 2 to 3.
It will be indeed a busy weekend in the world of 3X3. Aside from the event in Moscow, simultaneous Challengers will be hosted by Limassol, Cyprus and Ulaanbataar, Mongolia but there will be no Filipino representatives but Chooks To Go Pilipinas 3X3 founder Ronald Mascarinas is confident that there will be more Filipino participants in the future with the opening of the import-flavored Patriots Cup presented by Coca-Cola this June 16 at the SM Seaside City Cebu.