By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters is set to make its Manila return in May after five years and it has the world governing body excited, recognizing how the country has done its fair share in helping advance appreciation for the sport.

To take place from May 2-3 at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall, the World Tour Masters in Manila, which is supported anew by Chooks-to-Go, will be the second leg in the calendar of the tour.

To make sure that preparations for the Manila tournament are rolling, FIBA head of 3×3 basketball Ignacio Soriano arrived in the country early this week and met with Chooks-to-Go officials, particularly group head Ronald Mascariñas.

And Mr. Soriano said he was satisfied with what he heard and excited to get the tournament going.

“For us, Chooks-to-Go has been having excellent 3×3 activities. Last year, they sent teams in the World Tour. So, we believe that it’s a great move to be back here with Chooks-to-Go on our side. 3×3 really belongs here,” said Mr. Ignacio after emerging from his meeting with Mr. Mascariñas on Monday at the office of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. in Ortigas.

“2019 [was] a special year for the Philippines in 3×3. Chooks-to-Go has been a great partner in pushing the sport to grow. 2020 is going to be much more special for the Philippines,” the FIBA official added.

On the part of Chooks-to-Go, to have the World Tour back here is a welcome development as it gets to complement the significant strides that 3×3 has made in the last few years.

Through Chooks-to-Go’s 3×3 league, the country been able to send teams to compete in international competitions, including FIBA-sanctioned tournaments, allowing it to earn valuable global ranking points.

A huge result of such efforts is the Philippines’ qualification for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament this March in India (See related story on this page).

The FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters this year begins in Doha, Qatar, on April 2–3, followed by the Manila leg. It culminates in November in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Now a 14-leg tour, up from 12 last year, the World Tour has also an expanded prize money, now reaching a total of $2.8 million from $2.1 million in 2019.

Expected to compete in the event are some of the world’s best 3×3 clubs, including Liman, Novi Sad, Riga Ghetto, and NY Harlem.