Freeman Cebu Sports

Cebuano Chooks cagers upbeat on chances against world’s best

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The three Cebuano ballers forming part of the Chooks 3x3 teams that will be representing the Philippines in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters are all upbeat about their chances against the world’s best in the hotly-anticipated tournament this weekend at SM Seaside City.

Mac Tallo, the country’s No.1 3x3 player who suits up for the Cebu Chooks squad alongside fellow Cebuano Zach Huang, Brandon Ramirez, Vince Tolentino, and Mike Nzeusseu, said they’re aware of the tough battle that looms ahead of them but in the same breath, they’re confident of overcoming the odds if they just play their hearts out.

“Our chances is always 50/50. Its just a matter of who wanted it more,” said Tallo, who holds the record as the first and only cager to win the season MVP awards in both high school and college in Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) history.

“The hard trainings we had the past week went well and we gave all what we’ve got during practice because we really wanted to win,” added Tallo.

“We promise that we will do everything so that our home crowd will see what Cebu and Manila Chooks are really made of.”

Huang, a two-time champion with the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) Magis Eagles in the CESAFI before galvanizing his name as a reliable forward with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the UAAP, shared the same sentiments with Tallo.

“We have a good chance if we just play our best and give our A-game,” said Huang, who is looking forward to put on a show before his loyal followers right in his beloved hometown.

“I’m very excited to play again in Cebu because this is where I grew up and become known in basketball. I will try to give my best,” Huang continued. “To the Cebuanos, thank you for all the support. Please come and support our games and I hope we won’t let you down.”

Huang, Tallo and the rest of Cebu Chooks were given a wild card in the main draw of the Cebu Masters by virtue of being the host.

Their townmate Arnold Dave Ando is with Manila Chooks, which was granted a qualifying draw spot for being the second-ranked team in the country.

“As for our chances, I think playing in our home court will work to our advantage,” said Ando, who will see action together with playing coach Chico Lanete, Dennis Santos, Henry Iloka, and Ken Holmqvist.

“But I can’t promise anything for now. One thing I can assure though it that we will give our 100 percent best and keep our focus one game at a time. We will show to the Cebuano fans the fighting spirit of the Filipinos,” added Ando.

They truly need that willpower as up ahead for Cebu and Manila Chooks is a gargantuan mission competing against Belgium’s Antwerp, Latvia’s Riga, the Netherlands’ Amsterdam, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah, Switzerland’s Lausanne, Mongolia’s Ulaanbataar and Sansar, USA’s Omaha, Japan’s Utsunomiya and Saitama, India’s Ludhiana, and Qatar’s Doha.


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