LEFT out of PBA rosters for the 44th season, Dylan Ababou and Karl Dehesa both get a new lease on life in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League.
And both are just thankful for the opportunity to continue proving that they still have a lot left in the tank.
"I feel like I've been forgotten. It's understandable cause I haven't been playing, but it is what it is," admitted Dehesa, who was left unsigned by Alaska in the offseason after being acquired from Phoenix in the Calvin Abueva trade.
"But for me, this is great. Guys want to play and they want to show what they can do. This league is a great opportunity for us to do that. It's like a second chance for everybody."
Ababou shared: "Nung hindi ako na-sign sa Columbian Dyip at sa NorthPort, iniisip ko kung saan ako maglalaro. Pero nag-training lang ako, tapos bigla na lang may 3x3 na ganito. Very happy ako na nagkaroon bigla ng ganito."
PBA veterans like Dehesa and Ababou bring experience to their respective squads, but more than that the two want to prove that they can still hang with their younger counterparts in the 3x3 circuit.
Ababou did just that in the preseason leg, leading the Pasig Grindhouse Kings to the title as Fil-Am prospects Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, and Troy Rike willingly took the backseat.
"Winning should be a habit. Ayaw namin na masanay na matalo as a team. Yung, babawi tayo next time, ayaw namin yun. We have to have a high standard at magkaroon ng mataas na goal," said the former UST Growling Tiger.
"Very happy ako sa mga teammates ko because they always listen. Kapag nagsasalita ako, nakikinig muna sila. It's a very good thing. Yun yung importanteng element kaya kami nanalo. Naging in one page kami dahil doon, at naging mabilis yung adjustment namin kasi very hungry sila."
Dehesa is expected to lead Vigan Baluarte Zoo when the season rolls on February 16.
"I see it as an even playing field. Not many of these guys played 3x3 and the league is different," he remarked.
Dehesa, who is no stranger to the game after previously suiting up for Manila North back in the 2015 Fiba 3x3 World Tour together with Abueva, Vic Manuel, and Troy Rosario, also likes the variance of the 3x3 game compared to the traditional 5-on-5 setting.
"It's the fast pace, non-stop hitting, non-stop moving. The level of intensity is a lot different. You play more than one game a day and it can be anyone's game any given day," said the 31-year-old guard.
With the league's ultimate goal focused on forming a formidable Olympic 3x3 team for the 2020 Tokyo Games, Ababou hopes that this stint could land him another chance to don the national colors, this time in the half-court game.
"Pinagpe-pray ko yun kay Lord. Committed ako dito kung baka sakali na ma-represent ko ulit yung country natin in the international stage," he said. "Ultimate dream ng lahat na maglaro sa Olympics. Basta I'll set my standards, play my A-game, and hopefully, ma-call up ulit."