MANILA -- Manila Chooks claimed an emotional victory over China's Futian to reach the quarterfinals of the 2023 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters on Saturday night, in front of a packed crowd at the SM Seaside City Cebu.
Mac Tallo, the country's No. 1 3x3 player, was the hero for Manila Chooks as he drilled the game-winning two-pointer for a 21-17 triumph (1:39) in Pool C of the main draw.
Tallo's dagger clinched Manila Chooks' place in the knockout phase on Sunday at the same venue.
It was a bounce-back win for the Filipinos, who lost to Vienna of Austria 14-20 earlier in the day.
Tallo, a Cebu native, finished with nine points while Marcus Hammonds backed him up with five points. Tosh Sesay and Marquez Letcher-Ellis combined for seven.
"Siyempre ginawa namin ang lahat. Ang mentality namin mula kaninang umaga mag-cramps na tayo, kahit ma-injure tayo ibuhos na natin lahat kasi we never, I think it's been a year na hindi kami nakapasok ng Day 2 ng mga tournaments," said Tallo.
"At ito na iyon, finally, nakapasok na kami. Hopefully, iyong momentum namin sa last game, madala namin bukas," he added.
Manila Chooks! takes on top seed Ub Huishan of Serbia, which topped Pool A with a 2-0 mark, in the Last Eight. The United States’ Miami clashes with San Juan of Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals.
Other quarterfinalists include Miami, which posted a 2-0 record in Pool D, while the Netherlands’ Amsterdam HiPRO, unbeaten in two games in Pool B, battles Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy of Mongolia.
Pool C pacesetter Vienna of Austria tackles China’s Wuxi.