For the past seven weeks, coach Aldin Ayo and his national men’s 3×3 team have set out to accomplish a singular mission of flying to Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games.
And for a set of players and coaches who have gotten used to the full team scrimmage, the task won’t be easy.
“We’re doing it gradually. We’re laying down the foundation of our program and we’re doing our best to adjust and cope up with other tactics,’’ said Ayo during Monday’s presser of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas buildup for the Paris Games.
The team headlined by Mark Tallo, the top 3×3 baller in the nation, and fellow Cebuano Zachary Huang will set up camp in Serbia early next month to kick off their preparations for a series of tournaments where they could rack up ranking points for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
“This is a big opportunity for us to travel to Serbia and train with the No. 1 team. We’re students in this game and we are willing to learn from the best,’’ said Ayo, a University Athletic Association of the Philippines champion coach from La Salle and National Collegiate Athletic Association title winner from Letran.
To help smoothen the path going to Paris, Chooks-to-Go will attempt to pull off a series of local tournaments designed to elevate the team’s chances after a missed shot in the OQT for the Tokyo Olympics last year.
“We’re committed to play 100 percent as we represent our country in 3×3. There’s no time for extra curricular activities,’’ said Tallo.
They will be joined by big men Filipino-Canadian Brandon Ramirez and Dennis Santos along with Tosi Tansingco and Cameroonian Mike Nzeusseu, who will be applying for naturalization.
“It’s a long shot with a singular purpose. It will be difficult to qualify in Paris, but we will keep on trying and as long as people are committed to this cause, I believe we have a chance,’’ said Chooks-To-Go president Ronald Mascarinas.
“We’re on our seventh week together and we’re lucky to be able to practice this long. This is a big opportunity for us and we’re being patient,’’ said Ayo. INQ
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