Manila Chooks, Miami-USA promise exciting games in Cebu Masters
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Manila Chooks and Miami-United States brace for a tough competition against some of the world’s best 3×3 teams in the much-awaited Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters that will be held at the SM Seaside City Cebu this weekend.
A total of 14 teams, seven of which, including Miami, are part of the world’s top 3×3 teams will converge in Cebu City to compete in 3×3 basketball glory.
For Manila Chooks’ team captain and Cebuano 3×3 star Mac Tallo, they want to end their losing spell in their series of 3×3 campaigns here in the Philippines and in abroad, especially now that they’re competing in his hometown.
“I just want to get out of this losing slump. Gusto ko manalo kami. Gusto ko tanggalin yung pagkatalo namin sa previous tournaments,” said Tallo during the press conference of Cebu Masters on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
“Mas malaki kasi yung chance namin ngayon kasi malalaki ang kasama ko. Yung mga kasama ko 6-foot-6 pataas, ako lang yung pinakamaliit. So may chance kami at handa namin ibigay lahat in every game,” he added.
Besides the pressure of ending their losing slump, Manila Chooks had to tweak their line-up earlier this year due to injuries.
Fellow Cebuano, Paul Desiderio got injured heading into the Cebu Masters that forced him to be sidelined, while Dennis Santos isn’t a hundred percent healthy to suit up for the team.
Instead, Chooks Manila of head coach Chico Lañete reinforced their roster with three foreign big men comprised of Cebu-based Tosh Sesay of Sierra Leone and Americans Marcus Hammonds and Marquez Letcher-Ellis.
EYES ON THE GOLD
Meanwhile, Miami-USA was a victory away from winning the gold medal of the FIBA 3×3 World Cup held earlier this year in Austria.
They came up short after they lost to Serbia that will also compete in the Cebu Masters this weekend.
Thus, they won’t take their campaign in the Cebu Masters lightly as they gun for redemption. They also want to prove that the USA was a force to reckon with in the 3×3 scene, while they also recognize that the international 3×3 scene has become more competitive than before.
“Our plan every time we take the floor is to win the gold medal, and we know we’re prepared to do that. We have a better season progressed and we started out the year with a silver medal in the World Cup,” said Miami’s Kareem Maddox during the presser on Thursday.
“I think that’s the testament of how strong international basketball has become. There are no easy games. These guys, including this team from the Philippines, they’re really strong, any game is up for grabs, especially in the 3×3. It goes to show how strong international basketball has become. We know what the expectations are, we want to win the gold for sure.”
Maddox will be joined by veteran Jimmer Fredette along with Canyon Barry and Dylan Travis for Miami-USA.
Manila Chooks will be playing under Pool C against Futian of China and Vienna-Austria.
Miami-USA will compete under Pool D with Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy.
The rest of the competing teams are Amsterdam-Netherlands, Paris-France, Sansar-Mongolia, Wuxi-China, San Juan-Puerto Rico, Lubao-MCFASolver-Philippines, Auckland-New Zealand, and Taichung-Taiwan.
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