Chooks Mike Harry Nzeusseu tries to score on a dunk during the first minute of the game against UB.
MANILA – The Philippines’ top two 3×3 teams were not able to bag victories to open the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters on Saturday at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay in Paranaque City.
Cebu Chooks’ valiant fight fell short against Ub, 17-21 (8:53), while Ulaanbaatar dealt Manila Chooks a 22-11 rout to open their respective pools.
Mac Tallo strapped Cebu on his back with 11 points in a dazzling showing that wowed the crowd, including one that saw him send the defense on the floor following a dribbling showcase that ultimately gave them an early lead.
The Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 player went on to lift his side to a 14-12 advantage following a deuce from the right wing with 3:59 remaining.
Unfortunately, Tallo and Co. couldn’t sustain the momentum. The world’s no. 1 team went on to flex its experience, with Dejan Majstorovic leading the way.
The bemedaled halfcourt veteran responded with a two-pointer of his own, then scored a bucket inside to give Ub the 15-14 edge, 3:20 to play.
Marko Brankovic stretched their lead to three as he calmly sank two free throws, making Cebu pay for garnering its seventh foul.
Tallo and Mike Harry Nzeusseu still tried to put up a fight, but there was no stopping Ub anymore. Majstorovic put his crew on the hill with a two-pointer before delivering the final blow through a lay-up with 1:08 left.
A member of the disbanded Novi Sad crew, Majstorovic powered Ub with 12 points in the win that gave them the early lead in Pool A (1-0).
Meanwhile, Manila simply could not get going right from the start, and things turned from bad to worse as the club from Mongolia zoomed ahead with Steve Sir on the steering wheel en route to gaining early leadership of Pool B (1-0).
Highly touted as the best shooter in all of FIBA 3×3, the Canadian marksman led his new team with 11 points as he went 5-of-8 beyond the arc.
Sir helped Ulaanbaatar to a 3-0 start, and the match would turn into one so lopsided that saw them establish a 15-5 lead still with 6:18 remaining.
The native of Edmonton would go on to knock the game-clinching two-pointer as the tried-and-tested squad only needed less than six minutes to finish the match, making the affair in line to take the fastest win award.
Dulguun Enkhbat provided ample support with seven points. Delgernyam Davaasambuu had three points, as Otgonjargal Tsogot added one.
On the other hand, Manila was led by the five points and four rebounds of Henry Iloka. Dennis Santos made four, as Chico Lanete chipped in two.
In other games, world no. 2 Antwerp showed its pedigree in beating qualifying draw winner Melbourne, 19-15, to open Pool B action while world no. 3 Liman opened Pool C action with a 21-16 (7:42) win over Gurugram.
The rest of the main draw games were still taking place as of publishing time.
Only the top two teams in each of the four pools will advance to the quarterfinals of this maximum level FIBA 3×3 tournament that has a $122,000 (P6,375,415) prize pool with $40,000 (P2,090,300) going to the champion.
In the two-point shootout qualification, Cebu Chooks’ main gunner Mac Tallo will headline the finale following a strong showing in the qualifiers.
The Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 player was among the three players who finished with seven points to book a spot in the grand contest.
Others were Wagstaff and Yokohama’s Tatsuhito Noro. Chris McIntosh of Auckland completed the four-man cast with six points in 29.33 seconds, eliminating Strahinja Stojacic as the Ub gunner scored as much in 30 ticks.
The Shootout final takes place on Sunday at 5:50 PM with the winner taking home $500. If any of the four players score above the record of 17 shots made, he brings home $5,000.
Pool A Game 1:
Ub 21 – Majstorovic 12, Brankovic 5, Barać 4, Stojacic 0.
Cebu 17 – Tallo 11, Nzeusseu 5, Ramirez 1, Huang 0.
Time: Majstorovic (8:53)
Pool B Game 1:
Antwerp 19 – Bogaerts 7, Vervoort 6, Celis 4, Augustijnen 2.
Melbourne 15 – Hire 6, Wagstaff 5, Steel 2, Wilks 2.
Pool C Game 1:
Liman 21 – Kilijan 7, Ratkov 5, Vasic 5, Kojic 4.
Gurugram 16 – Gill B. 6, Shastri 5, Gill I. 4, Ramirez 1.
Time: Kojic FT (7:42)
Pool D Game 1:
Ulaanbaatar 22 – Sir 11, Enkhbat 7, Davaasambuu 3, Tsogt 1.
Manila 11 – Iloka 5, Santos 4, Lanete 2, Holmqvist 0.
Time: Sir 2 (5:52)