Cebu Chooks! will need to bring their A-game and more as they seek to advance deep in the FIBA 3×3 Tainan City Challenger which will take place from October 22-23 in Taiwan.
Cebu Chooks! is the highest-ranked Philippine 3×3 team in the world at 26th. But the squad composed of the country’s top-ranked 3×3 player, Mac Tallo (84th in the world), Mike Harry Nzeusseu (137th in the world), Brandon Ramirez (163rd in the world), and former Ateneo captain Vince Tolentino will have their work cut out for them as standing in their way in the group stage will be two formidable foes.
“Basically, nag-aadjust kami ngayon sa chemistry namin since we are adding Vince to the team,” said team captain Mac Tallo. “Alam mo yun? We got so used to playing with Zach (Huang) but we feel that we needed to add height to our team para maka-match up kami against Ub and Utsunomiya.”
In order to advance to the knockout quarterfinals of this tournament that has two tickets for the World Tour Hong Kong Masters at stake, Cebu Chooks! will need to win at least one game in the Group Stage where they will be facing Ub Huishan NE of Serbia on Saturday at 4:40 PM followed by Utsunomiya Brex of Japan at 9:00 PM.
Ub is the number one team in the world and is made up of the best players in the world.
Ub is led by the best 3×3 player in the world, “Dr.Strange” Strahinja Stojacic. Backstopping him is world no. four Dejan Majstorovic who was named MVP of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas World Tour Manila Masters. Completing the squad are world no. six Marko Brankovic and world no. 14 Nemanja Barac.
The squad won the first four legs of the 2022 FIBA 3×3 World Tour – the Utsunomiya Masters in Japan, the Manila Masters in the Philippines, the Prague Masters in the Czech Republic, and the Lausanne Masters in Switzerland. The team also finished second in the Debrecen Masters in Hungary. They will want nothing less than the championship in Taiwan.
The Brex is 20th in the world and is fresh off a quarterfinal finish in the Chooks-to-Go World Tour Cebu Masters. The team defeated Sansar of Mongolia in the Group Stage but was eliminated in the knockout quarterfinals by Ulaanbaatar, 17-21.
The highest-ranked Japanese team in the world, Utsunomiya has been in sharp form these recent months. Prior to the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Cebu Masters, the team placed fifth in the Energy Sukhbaatar Challenger in Mongolia and sixth in the Penang Challenger in Malaysia.
Utsunomiya is led by the two highest-ranked Japanese players in the world, Yosuke Saito (81st) and Yasui Iijima (119th). The two are complemented by Serbian imports Dusan Samardzic (68th in the world) who was the star of the Serbian U23 3×3 national team and Dusan Popovic (79th in the world).
Watch the games right here on the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas’ Facebook page and on FIBA 3×3’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.