MANILA, Philippines -- Manila Chooks' magical run in the 2022 Ulaanbaatar FIBA 3x3 Super Quest ended at the hands of old foe Zaisan MMC Energy, absorbing a 16-21 (5:01) defeat in the semifinals, Saturday at UB Arena in Mongolia.
Already familiar with each other as both teams faced off in the pool stages of the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 Asia Pacific Super Quest last May 1, the two squads figured in a nip-and-tuck affair in the early part of the contest.
Midway through the semifinals tilt of the level 8-FIBA 3x3 tournament though, Ikhbayar Chuluunbaatar caught fire, draining back-to-back deuces to give the home team a 19-15 edge with 5:13 remaining.
Henry Iloka tried to stop the Manila bleeding but Gan-Erdene Gantsolmon drained a deuce with 4:59 left to punch their ticket to the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 Manila Masters which is slated to take place from May 28-29.
Gantsolmon, Mongolia's no. 3-ranked player, dropped 12 points in the contest built on five deuces. Chuluunbaatar added seven markers.
Dennis Santos was the top scorer for Manila with six points while Chico Lanete chipped in four.
Also qualifying for the Manila Masters is Ulaanbaatar as it defeated Zavkhan in the other bracket, 22-17. Already qualified for the maximum level tournament are Cebu and Manila Chooks, as well as Asia Pacific Super Quest second placers Sansar also of Mongolia.
Manila finished in fourth place in the tournament while Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3's other team Cebu ended up in sixth place.
Cebu Chooks lost to Zavkhan in the quarterfinals, 20-17.
The two Philippine teams will train with Serbia's top 3x3 teams starting on May 16 in Manila.