MANILA, Philippines -- Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 on Wednesday announced that it is now a professional league, after getting the approval of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, which began last year in an effort to help the Philippines qualify to the 3x3 competition in the Tokyo Olympics, is the first professional 3x3 league in the country.
"Chooks did not get this right away," GAB chairman Baham Mitra said in a press conference. "The professional games division of GAB studied their technical capabilities on officiating and all of the rules, as well as their financial capability to run a league."
"Even if there's an economic slow down, we feel very strongly that the ones behind the league are capable of running a pro league," he added. "I think this will be very good."
League commissioner Eric Altamirano revealed that they have wanted to be a professional league from the very beginning, a desire that was strengthened after their teams competed in FIBA 3x3 World Tours in other countries.
"We noticed na a lot of countries that participated, they have professionalized their 3x3 leagues," said Altamirano. "So I really believe na by turning pro, it will firm up our quest to become a dominant force sa 3x3 all over the world."
Altamirano added: "This will provide our local players the opportunity to explore the possibility of a professional career in the 3x3 league."
The move was welcomed by the league's players, including Joshua Munzon, the top-ranked 3x3 player in the Philippines and a member of the national team that will compete in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.
"I think it's a step in the right direction in growing the game in the Philippines," said Munzon. "It's pretty cool to say that we're pros now."
As a professional league, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 is covered by the recent joint administrative order that allows teams to resume practices. Mitra said that like the Philippine Basketball Association and the Philippine Football Federation, Chooks teams will only do conditioning exercises, with scrimmages still barred.
If quarantine measures are relaxed in the coming months, the league plans to hold its new season by the third week of September.
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