OG Pasig Kings to play in Kunshan Challenger

The Pasig Kings who will play in the Kunshan Challenger are joined by Coaches Eric and Anton Altamirano. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--The original Pasig team that won it all in the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup will fly to Kunshan for the FIBA 3x3 Kunshan Challenger.

Dylan Ababou and Troy Rike will rejoin Joshua Munzon and Taylor Statham for the said tournament that will take place over the weekend.

"It's a good way to test our local players sa level ng competition," Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, who has been helping in coaching the team, said on Thursday night after the Kings's practice at Gold's Gym Sheridan.

However, Altamirano bared that the decision to go all-Filipino stemmed from the injuries of foreign reinforcements Nikola Pavlovic and Angelo Tsagarakis.

"Si Nikola, meron siyang hand injury that will take him another week to recover. Angelo naman suffered a semi-fractured rib during the Doha [Masters], and he had to go back to France to have it treated there," Altamirano revealed Pavlovic and Tsagarakis' injuries.

Pasig will face a familiar foe in Liman as they are grouped together in Pool A alongside Russian side Sosnovy BorCopRosatom.

"It's going to be a tough group, but hopefully, with their familiarity of the players with each other, that could be an advantage for us," Altamirano further said.

Pasig shocked the world during the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters when it subdued Liman, currently ranked third in the global rankings, during the pool stages.

[Related Story: Pasig caps PHI domination with upset of world no. 1 Liman]

The winner of the Kunshang Challenger will qualify for the Chengdu Masters, although special consideration will be given if either Liman or Riga, which both qualified for the Chengdu Masters already, will win it all or if both teams will make the final.

But Altamirano would rather want to see Pasig vie for the title than merely eye a third place finish considering the Philippines' bid to make the inaugural Summer Olympic 3x3 event in Tokyo next year.

"If we can go all the way, the better kasi that will also translate to more points for us. The higher we go, the higher we pile up points," he further quipped.

Aside from Liman and Riga, the other team Pasig already faced before that will participate in the Kunshang Challenger is Tokyo Dime.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno