By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

LOCAL 3×3 basketball action is back as the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup unfurls on Wednesday in a “bubble” setting at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.

Forced to delay its second season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the now-recognized professional league is ready to get it going for its two-week-long tournament, which will see all participants holed up throughout the proceedings in the government-approved Calamba facility of National University.

The tournament will be conducted under strict monitoring of health and safety protocols laid out by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) which paved the way for the league’s season start.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 is the second league in the country to open amid the ongoing concern with the pandemic after the Philippine Basketball Association.

The President’s Cup commences with its first leg, featuring 12 teams coming from different parts of the country out to be crowned as kings of the 3×3 court.

Three more, three legs will follow on Oct. 23, 25, and 27, with the Grand Finals which has a P1-million top prize taking place on Oct. 30.

Set to see action in the tournament are Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks, Uling Roasters-Butuan City, Bacolod Master Sardines, Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, Palayan City Capitals, Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC Green Gorillas, and Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors.

Also competing are Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, Pagadian City-Rocky Sports, Petra Cement-Roxas City ZN Rockies, Sarangani Marlins, and Bicol Paxful 3×3 Pro.

League commissioner Eric Altamirano said they are grateful and excited to have their season start just as they hope they get to provide inspiration for other sports stakeholders in the country still finding their way amid the issue with the health crisis.

They, too, are looking at the President’s Cup as jump-starting anew the national team’s preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.

“One of our main goals is to restart sports and hopefully through our 3×3 league, we’d be able to inspire other leagues to be able to start also. Also, it’s our goal to prepare for the Olympic qualifier. That is to use this league to prepare us for the coming OQT,” Mr. Almirano said.

The country’s top 3×3 players—Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol—are seeing action in the tournament with the Family’s Brand Sardines along with other national team pool members.

To ensure that things will go smoothly, the league held a “dry run” through a preseason tournament on Oct. 19, which was topped by the team of Messrs. Munzon and Pasaol.

The President’s Cup, now powered by TM, can be seen on the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook page, Chooks3x3TM on Digital TV, and television channel BEAM TV Channel 31.

Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 was established last year and is the brainchild of the group of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascarinas.