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Chooks To Go opens FIBA Asia Champions Cup bid vs Kazakhs

MANILA, Philippines – Chooks To Go, featuring new faces from the amateur ranks including second-generation players Jeron Teng and Andre Paras, takes on BC Astana of Kazakhstan to open its campaign in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup on September 22 in Chenzhou, China.

Team Philippines 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 of this tourney ruled by the Andray Blatche-led China Kashgar in 2016.

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.

Coach Chot Reyes gathered his prospective players in a preliminary meeting Monday.

They start their nine-day preparation for the Asian inter-club tourney only tonight since import and Gilas naturalized player prospect Isaiah Austin was to fly in only last night.

Among those who showed up and sweated it out in the Monday meeting at the Meralco Gym were Kiefer Ravena, Carl Bryan Cruz, Raymar Jose, Achie Iñigo, Jett Manuel and Nigerian Bright Ekhuetie.

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Gilas players Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo showed up obviously just to provide morale support.

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 Englelland, 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 then, with strong showing against the teams of great players Drazen Petrovic, Oscar Schmidt, Chuck Person and Arvidas Sabonis.

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