FIBA 3x3: Cebu Chooks punches last ticket to HK Masters


Posted at Nov 21 2022 12:47 PM

Cebu Chooks! celebrates their triumph in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Quest 2.0. Handout photo
Cebu Chooks! celebrates their triumph in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Quest 2.0. Handout photo

SANTA ROSA - Cebu Chooks! hung on to beat Manila Chooks! in a tight finale, 20-18, to conquer the 2022 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Quest 2.0 before an appreciative crowd at the Ayala Malls Solenad on Sunday night.

The country's top-ranked 3x3 team, Cebu Chooks! got the breaks they needed in the end game to secure the last spot in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Hong Kong Masters on November 26-27.

Cebu joins Serbia's Ub and Liman; Belgium's Antwerp; Latvia's Riga; the Netherlands' Amsterdam; Austria's Vienna; Lithuania's Šakiai Gulbelė; Mongolia's Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy; China's Beijing; Chinese-Taipei's Kaohsiung; Indonesia's Yogyakarta Gojek; and four Hong Kong teams in the tournament that is the last stop before the Abu Dhabi Final.

Cebu needs to win the tournament to advance to Abu Dhabi.

Coming off a rough run in the Riyadh Masters, Mac Tallo and the rest of the quartet will also take home P100,000 in ruling the Level 7 FIBA 3x3 Event.

"'Yung No. 1 na title, pwedeng makuha ng kahit sino. Pero 'yung championship mahirap makuha," offered the country's top 3x3 player. "We redeemed ourselves from our disappointing losses back in the Riyadh Masters."

Tallo led Cebu with nine points, including back-to-back deuces that pulled his side within two points of clinching the match, 19-12, with 2:10 to play.

The crew aimed for the kill afterwards but struggled to do so, with Dennis Santos and Dave Ando leading the rally for Manila.

Mike Nzeusseu put Cebu on the hill through a slam, 20-16, with 1:15 left, but the opposition kept the fight. Import Henry Iloka scored back-to-back hits to cut the deficit to just two points nearing the last eight seconds.

Time was not on the side of Manila, however, and Cebu held on to claim its second title since ruling the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 Asia Pacific Super Quest last April 30 in the same venue.

Nzeusseu finished with seven points, while Brandon Ramirez and newcomer Marcus Hammonds combined for four markers in the triumph.

Cebu, who escaped Botolan Hayati in the quarters before mauling Talisay EGS to reach the final, will now turn its attention to next week's World Tour Masters leg -- the last leg before the World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi.

Manila was led by the 16 points of Iloka in the defeat that wasted their perfect run to the title bout, which saw the unit sweep all of its three games in Pool B before downing GenSan and Butuan Chooks! in the knockout stages.