Seven out of 56 prospects stood out in the first-ever Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 national tryout for guards at the Activate Hoop Arena in Mandaluyong, Tuesday.
Paul Desiderio leads the batch of possible new additions to the program’s talent pool, which is being expanded for the 2023 season—a year so crucial for the country’s hopes of qualifying to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The comebacking cager is joined by celebrity athlete Gerald Anderson, as well as seasoned pros Jaypee Belencion, Shaq Alanes, and RJ Deles.
Also making the cut are Ian Pardo and Zaljun Cartagena, players that could inject more youth as they are only aged 23 and 25, respectively.
“With the 2023 FIBA 3×3 season being crucial in our drive to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics and OQT, we want to find the best players possible. And this tryouts for guards is an excellent jumpstart to it,” said Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas.
“We are hoping that more players can join us in our invitational tryouts for bigs which we will announce soon!”
The aforementioned were put to the test right away as they figured in a 3×3 match together with national players Mac Tallo, Brandon Ramirez, Dennis Santos, and Vince Tolentino to cap off the open trials.
Chooks 3×3 head trainer Chico Lanete, however, said that nothing is set in stone yet as the seven will still have to undergo a thorough screening by the program’s top brass together with new consultant MIlan Isakov.
Once the chief mentor of long-time 3×3 powerhouse Liman, the former cager from Serbia arrived in Manila at 12 a.m.—10 hours before the tryouts.
“Sa seven prospects, pareho kami ni Coach Milan ng mga nakita,” said Lanete. “As of now sila ang prospects natin, pero wala pang final.”
A total of 56 aspirants tried their luck, all of whom are hoping to realize their dream of representing the Philippines in the Olympic 3×3 stage.
The one-day tryout served as Chooks 3×3’s closing event for what has been a fruitful year for the program, with its sights set on the new year looming where it tries to earn as many points from an outright qualification to Paris.
Chooks 3×3 was the main driving force behind the country’s run to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the previous Olympic cycle.
The invitational tryouts for forwards and bigs will be held later this month.