Manila Chooks TM will face a familiar foe when they plunge into action in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters on Friday at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex in Doha.
The team, which represents the Philippines in the event, was grouped with world No. 1 Liman and home squad Lusail in Pool A of the competition.
The members of Manila Chooks TM -- Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, and Santi Santillan -- are very familiar with Liman, the powerhouse squad from Serbia that features four of the best players in the world.
Back in the 2019 edition of the tournament, the Pasig Chooks squad that included Munzon, Taylor Statham, Nikola Pavlovic, and Angelo Tsagarakis with Troy Rike as reserve, stunned Liman in the pool stages with a 19-16 win.
In the same tournament, Balanga Chooks, a team then composed of Pasaol and Santillan along with Karl Dehesa and Travis Franklin, bowed to Liman in the quarterfinals, 9-21.
The Manila Chooks players said they are more than ready for the rematch.
"It's definitely going to be a test for us to square off against those European teams, but you know, I think we're ready mentally, physically," said Munzon. "I think we're ready as we can be, and we'll see how things go."
"I am confident with my team," he stressed. "We're ready to get after it."
Rike believes their recent stint in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup, where they won four of the five legs, will benefit them.
"We have played more recently than probably most of the other teams here. We're kinda still in game mode and team mode heading right into that," he pointed out.
Liman, who Manila will face on Friday at 11:55 p.m. (Philippine time), will be composed of 2017 FIBA 3X3 World Tour MVP Stefan Stojacic, world No. 3 Stefan Kojic, No. 4 Mihailo Vasic, and No. 6 Aleksandar Ratkov.
The top two teams in Pool A will crossover with the top two of Pool C which is composed of world No. 4 NY Harlem, No. 14 Lausanne of Switzerland, and Lithuania's Utena in the knockout quarterfinals on Saturday.
For Wednesday's itinerary, Manila Chooks TM will hold its first on-court practice at the competition venue from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. before heading back to the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel for a 30-minute weights training at 10 p.m.
3x3, FIBA 3x3, FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters, Manila Chooks TM, Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike, Santi Santillan