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Chooks rarin’ to go

Kiefer Ravena,  Jeron Teng and Isaiah Austin

MANILA, Philippines — SEA Games veterans Kiefer Ravena, Carl Bryan Cruz, Raymar Jose and Almond Vosotros lead the Chooks To Go Pilipinas final lineup that will compete in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou, China from Sept. 22 to 30.

PBA players Norbert Torres and LA Revilla also made the team along with former La Salle player Jeron Teng, ex-UP Maroon Jett Manuel, former FEU Tamaraw Alfrancis Tamsi and PBA free agent Jeric Teng.

Seven-foot-1 Isaiah Austin, being eyed by Gilas for naturalization,  and CEU player Rod Ebondo will play as imports while Gab Banal and Andre Paras are joining the team as reserves.

The bulk of the team departs for China this afternoon while Austin and Ebondo will follow upon  completion of their travel documents.

Gilas pool members in the PBA are not obliged to suit up in the Chenzhou meet which is an inter-club event where the Philippines is playing as a late substitute for Japan.

“I think given the preparation, getting to the quarterfinals is a very reasonable expectation,” said coach Chot Reyes.

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Chooks To Go takes on BC Astana of Kazakhstan Friday to open its campaign in the tourney won last year by the Andray Blatche-led China Kashgar.

Team Phl next plays Sarreyyet Ramallah of Lebanon on the 23rd, Mono Vampires of Thailand on the 24th then PetroChimi of Iran on the 26th, needing a Top Four finish in their group to make the knockout stage.

The defending champs are bracketed with Al Ahli of the United Arab Emirates, ONGC of India, the Palestine’s Al Riyadi and Chinese Taipei’s Dacin Tigers in the other group.

The Philippines had its dominant run in the early years of this inter-club event, bagging the championship in 1984 courtesy of Northern Cement, 1988 through Swift PABL, 1995 by Andoks and 1996 by Hapee Toothpaste.

The Ron Jacobs-mentored Northern Cement team, featuring Chip Engelland, Jeff Moore, Dennis Still, Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Yves Dignadice and Franz Pumaren, made a great mark all the way to the World Inter-Club in Spain.

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