Cebu Chooks, Manila Chooks falter, bow out of FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters tourney

CEBU CHOOKS LOSE TO LIMAN HUESHAN NE OF SERBIA. Mac Tallo (left) and Mike Nzeusseu (right) foul Liman's Stefan Kojic hard during their quarterfinals battle on Sunday's FIBA 3X3 World Manila Masters Tournament at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay. | Photo from Chooks Pilipinas Media Bureau

Mac Tallo (left) and Mike Nzeusseu (right) foul Liman’s Stefan Kojic hard during their quarterfinals battle on Sunday’s FIBA 3X3 World Manila Masters Tournament at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay. | Photo from Chooks Pilipinas Media Bureau

CEBU CITY, Philippines — After punching their way through the playoffs in thrilling fashion, the two Philippine 3×3 teams, Cebu and Manila Chooks bowed out of the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters on Sunday at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay. 

This was after both teams faltered in their respective quarterfinal matches against formidable opponents. 

Manila ran out of gas and yielded a, 16-21, (8:07) outcome against Mongolia’s Sansar MMC Energy, while Cebu got outclassed by world No. 3 Liman Huishan NE of Serbia, 21-11 (7:06).

Manila which was touted to have the best chance of reaching the semifinals faltered in the hands of the Mongolian squad after wasting their comfortable four-point lead mid game during their match. 

The Mongolians grabbed the lead when their outside shots started to find their targets. Anand Ariunbold nailed back-to-back two-pointers to power a 7-0 run, which turned the tide dramatically against the host team which ultimately led to their unfortunate demise. 

Ariunbold finished with nine points to lead Sansar MMC Energy, while teammate Enkhbaatar Onolbaatar had six points, and Gansukh Avarzed and Batzolboo Borgil combined for six as well.

Henry Iloka top-scored for Manila with seven points and seven rebounds. Chico Lanete made four, as Ken Holmqvist added three in the loss.

“Sayang ‘yung chances namin kanina, sayang,” lamented Lanete, who towed Manila to the quarters last night against Zaisan MMC Energy.

(What a wasted opportunity, our chances earlier, what a wasted opportunity.)

“Pero masaya kami na na-experience namin ito at mahaba pa naman ang season. Madami pa kaming iimprove,” he said.

(But we are happy because we experienced this and the season is still long. We still have a lot to improve on.)

Cebu Chooks outclassed

In contrast to Manila’s gallant stand, Cebu Chooks could not simply find their groove in their match against Liman Huishan NE of Serbia. 

Cebuanos’ Mac Tallo and Zach Huang still tried to retaliate late in the match, but their efforts weren’t enough to stop the Serbians. 

Tallo, who nailed a game-winning two pointer against Zavkhan MMC Energy on Saturday evening to qualify for the playoffs, finished with four points as well as Huang. 

“Kulang pa kami sa experience, kulang pa kami sa games. Magandang learning experience sa amin ito. Pinapangako namin na magiimprove pa kami at gagaling pa kami,” said Tallo, the country’s top-ranked 3×3 player.

(We still lack experience, we still lack games to play. This is a good learning experience for us. We promise to improve at that we will become better.)

Mihailo Vasic and marksman Nebojsa Kilijian took turns in making life difficult for the home team as they had eight and seven points for Liman, respectively.

Liman will take on Sansar in the knockout semis, where the other bracket will see world No. 1 Ub Huishan NE locking horns with Melbourne. 

The champion of the maximum level tournament will take home $40,000 (P2,093,000).

Meanwhile, Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy will take home $10,000 (P523,250) for finishing fifth in the tilt, Warsaw while got $4,000 (P209,300) richer for ending up at sixth.

The Scores:

Quarterfinals 3:

Sansar 21 – Ariunbold 9, Onolbaatar 6, Avarzed 4, Borgil 2.

Manila 16 – Iloka 7, Lanete 4, Holmqvist 3, Santos 2.

Time: Onolbaatar (8:07)

Quarterfinals 4:

Liman 21 – Vasic 8, Kilijan 7, Kojic 5, Ratkov 1.

Cebu 11 – Huang 4, Tallo 4, Nzeusseu 3, Ramirez 0.

Time: Vasic FT (7:06)

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