Rama to Cebu Chooks, Manila Chooks 3×3 teams: This is your homecourt
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael L. Rama rallies behind the Cebu Chooks and Manila Chooks 3×3 squads as both teams are bound to compete in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters slated Oct. 1 to 2, 2022 at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
During the teams’ courtesy visit to Rama’s office at the Cebu City Hall on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, the latter assured them that the “Queen City of the South” is their homecourt.
“This is your homecourt, and you have your home advantage. You have Mark Tallo, Coach Chico and the rest of the players that will play. If you’re here in Cebu, do know that we are here for all of you. Cebu City is your homecourt,” said Rama.
As a gift, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas provided Rama his own personalized jersey which he immediately wore during the courtesy visit and had some light moments with the team.
However, behind the laughter and smiles are the grinding preparations from both Cebu Chooks and Manila Chooks leading into the tournament.
After their arrival in Cebu last Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, the team immediately went straight into training, said playing head coach and trainer Chico Lañete.
“As you all know, from the airport, we checked in and rested a bit. After that, we didn’t waste any time. We headed straight to the Abellana oval and trained. So, we are not wasting time in this two-week training camp. We will not relax because we are all aware of our opponents’ caliber, they’re big, they’re tall. We work our mindset, our shooting because we lack the height,” said Lañete.
“We will rely on our shooting and fast-paced plays. Most of the line-ups of the international teams that we’re playing, we’ve already played with them before. We’re studying their styles lately so we’re more prepared to face them in October,” he said.
Lañete also called out Cebuano basketball fans to be the team’s fourth man on the court.
Lañete said that the cheers from the fans during the game would be a big factor for them to play with inspiration.
“Of course the fans will be a factor considering that three of our players are from Cebu, Mac (Tallo), Zac (Huang), and Dave (Ando). So, it’s going to help a lot for fans to cheer for our teams on Oct. 1 and 2,” Lañete said.
“We’re calling all Cebuano basketball fans, all Bisaya fans including my fellow Ormocanons, who are here in Cebu to support us and be at the venue on Oct. 1 and 2,” Lañete.
Meanwhile, Tallo, the No. 1 3×3 basketball player in the country, said they had been through a “Hell Week” after training relentlessly with their strength and conditioning trainer.
Tallo said that pressure had already been mounting on their side, especially his, considering that many Cebuanos were expecting a lot from him as he would be playing in his hometown for the first time in many years.
“Honestly, there’s always pressure, but as what I’ve been telling myself and my teammates, just embrace the pressure. As an athlete, pressure is always there, that’s what I always remind them,” said Tallo, the former two-time Cesafi MVP.
“We’re very hungry to win. We’re so motivated to play and win, especially that this is my hometown, it’s my territory and Zach’s (Huang). We love to display our ability as a represantative to the Philippines in the tournament in front of Cebuano basketball fans,” he said.
Cebu Chooks and Manila Chooks will face some of the world’s best 3×3 teams in this big-time international FIBA 3×3 competition.
These top-notch teams are Belgium’s Antwerp, Latvia’s Riga, the Netherlands’ Amsterdam, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, Switzerland’s Lausanne, Mongolia’s Sansar and Zaisan, USA’s Omaha, Japan’s Utsunomiya and Saitama, India’s Ludhiana, and Qatar’s Doha.
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