Aldin Ayo's famed "mayhem" system has resulted in championships in the NCAA and the UAAP, but it will be put to the test in the halfcourt game when Manila Chooks TM takes on some of the world's best in the 2021 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters, set for March 26 to 27 at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
After its core left for the PBA, Manila Chooks TM reloaded by adding Chico Lanete, Mac Tallo, Zachy Huang, and Dennis Santos.
Their campaign in the Doha Masters begins in the qualifying draw, where they will take on Austria's Graz at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, before facing off against the home team Doha at 8:05 p.m.
The Philippine side will be at a disadvantage in terms of size, however. Graz has 6-foot-9 Fabricio Vay and 6-foot-7 Filip Krämer, while Qatar will field 6-foot-7 Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem and 6-foot-10 Souley Ndour.
The players, however, are confident that Ayo's schemes will work in the three-a-side game.
"Sa practice pa lang, talagang banggaan na talaga. Napakalakas na rin nila 'yung katawan namin," said Santos, the tallest in the team at 6-foot-5.
"Going back sa UST days ko, ganun pa rin 'yung schemes ni Coach Aldin. Same approach pa rin tulad ng ginawa namin kaya naka-finals kami nung UAAP Season 82 ang ginawa niya dito para sa amin," added Huang, a 6-foot-2 post creator.
Only one team from the qualifying draw will advance to the tournament proper. Waiting for the survivor are US teams NY Harlem and Princeton, both top-five teams in the world.
Lanete is confident that, ultimately, their skills can negate the tall odds stacked in front of them.
"Sa darating na laban, siyempre maliliit kami pero ang ibibigay namin sa kanila eh yung bilis namin saka outside shooting. 'Yun ang power namin," said Lanete.
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