Freeman Cebu Sports

Philippine bets head to war

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The moment of truth has finally come for the Philippine bets as they now plunge into action in the highly anticipated Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters starting today at SM Seaside City.

Exuding confidence, the Cebu and Manila Chooks teams both vowed to wage one big war and defend their home court at all cost against one of the toughest fields they have ever faced in 3x3 basketball. 

Cebu Chooks, the highest rated Phl team in the world at No.26 in the FIBA 3x3 rankings, will be relying on the support of the crowd with two members of the squad, Mac Tallo and Zach Huang, being homegrown talents. Tallo, one of the most explosive scorers and exciting players in the international 3x3 scene, is expected to lead the way for Cebu Chooks that is hungry for a breakthrough triumph in the world stage. Big men Mike Harry Nzeusseu and Brandon Ramirez will be providing the inside muscle for the team.

“We will come out there fighting to the best of our ability and show to the world what the Filipinos are made of in 3x3 play,” said Tallo. “This is for the Cebuanos. I just I hope that we will be able to deliver a performance that will make them proud and happy of us.”

It would be a tall order though for Cebu Chooks and their Manila counterparts as 12 other teams from 10 countries will be contending for the championship trophy that goes along with a $10,000 bounty.

The second highest ranked team in the competition, world No.4 Riga of Latvia won the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and was the 2020 FIBA 3x3 World Tour champions.

Interestingly, Cebu Chooks nearly pulled off an upset over Riga during the Dubai Expo Super Quest last March. In that same event, they went on to beat world No.25 Chicago before falling to current world No.3 Belgium, which will also be playing in the Cebu Masters.

On the other hand, Manila Chooks needs to hurdle the qualifying draw where it needs to beat Ludhiana of India and Doha of Qatar to make it to the main draw. They will bank on the stabilizing presence of Chico Lanete, Henry Iloka, Dennis Santos, and another pride of Cebu in Dave Ando who at 22 years old is the youngest Filipino player in the field.

Like the Cebu Chooks, the country’s second highest ranked team has been consistently good in the international scene this year. In fact, the team has always reached the knockout stages of all the tournaments it has joined.

With the support of basketball-loving Cebuanos, both teams have promised to lay everything on the line in their defense of the home turf as they aim to raise aloft and wave the country’s flag with pride in the World Tour Cebu Masters.


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