By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA – Despite being bannered by the country’s top 3×3 player, the Philippine team took its early exit after suffering successive defeats at the 2020 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in Doha, Qatar early Saturday morning (Philippine time).
Finally bowing out of competition, the Philippine 3×3 squad, known as Manila Chooks TM, failed to replicate its 2019 shock victory against World No. 1 Liman as the Serbians’ height advantage prevailed over the Filipinos this time.
Down by seven points in the early part of the game at 5-12, top Filipino 3×3 player Joshua Munzon knocked down three deuces and led an 8-2 rally to trim Liman’s lead to one at 13-14 in the 4:16 mark.
The Serbian 3×3 powerhouse squad, however, leaned heavily on their tall frontline of Mihailo Vasic and Stefan Kojic to seize the advantage, while sniper Stefan Stojacic nailed the game-winning deuce to sweep Pool A of the competition.
Munzon led the Filipinos in scoring with nine points, while Alvin Pasaol chipped in four points.
Manila had a chance to salvage a quarterfinal spot in their second game but host Lusail kept their composure in the homestretch.
The Pinoy team was able to snatch the lead, 7-6, in the 5:40 mark after a Munzon twinner. Pasaol also contributed in the run with an inside shot and emphatic block over a Lusail player.
The Qataris, however, always got some easy looks inside to stretch their lead to 17-10. Lusail prevailed after 10 minutes of action, 19-14.
Munzon again led Manila Chooks against Lusail with eight points while Santi Santillan had three points.
Munzon, Pasaol, Santillan, and Troy Rike were chosen to represent the country in the FIBA 3×3 tilt after their quartet ruled four out of the five legs of the 2020 Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3×3 season in October. The country’s first professional 3×3 basketball league was held in a ‘bubble’ inside the National University campus in Calamba, Laguna. (AI/MTVN)