First-ever national 3x3 league to open February 16

Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 (2:35)

Twelve teams will battle it out in the country's first 3-on-3 league as the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 goes underway on Jan. 14, 2019. (2:35)

A total of 12 teams will participate in the inaugural run of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3, the country's first-ever 3x3 basketball league, beginning February 16.

The Bataan Risers chose University of the East Red Warrior Alvin Pasaol and Ateneo Blue Eagle Anton Asistio as two of their six players for the first conference, the President's Cup. Joining them will be former Adamson Soaring Falcon Sean Manganti and De La Salle Green Archer Santi Santillan.

Former Green Archers skipper Kib Montalbo will captain the Quezon City-Zark's Jawbreakers. Ronjay Buenafe will represent the Manila Stars, which will also include ex-PBA players like Carlo Lastimosa and Gabby Espinas. Meanwhile, the Pasig-Grindhouse Kings will field Filipino-American prospects Joshua Munzon and Taylor Statham.

Paolo Hubalde and Jan Jamon will play for the Valenzuela Classic; Mike Ayonayon and Larry Muyang for Go for Gold-San Juan Knights; Gab Banal and Matthew Aquino for the Bacoor Strikers; Jondan Salvador for the Marikina Shoemasters; and 'Baby Shaq' Jay-R Taganas and James Martinez for the Bulacan Kuyas. The Zamboanga Valientes will be composed of "Tausug Hero" Das Esa, Jonathan Parreno, Grevani Rublico, Rino Berame and Ferdinand Lusdoc.

The teams from Cebu, Davao Occidental and Vigan are still finalizing their roster.

Seeing the competitive squads, league owner and Chooks-to-Go president Ronald MascariƱas was overwhelmed by the talent the first conference has attracted.

"Definitely I was surprised with the quality of players we have attracted," said the executive. "With this, we are expecting very close games in every leg of the President's Cup."

"I would like to thank the team owners for going all-out this conference. For my part, I promise that the next conferences will be bigger," he added.

The standouts of the tournament will be candidates for the national 3x3 team that will be compete in FIBA 3x3 World Tours and hopefully in the Olympics.

"This tournament is a big help for the players that we will get to represent the country. When you play 3x3 all year round it's easy for them to familiarize with the rules," said league commissioner Eric Altamirano.

The first conference of the tournament will have six legs, with the champion squad getting a top prize of P1 million. All of the games will be televised across all platforms of ESPN5.

"What we want in ESPN5 is to elevate 3x3 basketball by broadcasting it with international broadcast coverage. We won't cover it just like any other barangay league, we will elevate it to the international stage," said ESPN5's Lloyd Manaloto.

ESPN5's JC Ansis contributed to this report.