THE revamped Manila Chooks TM squad will try to enter the 2021 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters by way of the backdoor against tough opponents.
The team from the Philippines, now composed of 5-on-5 veteran Chico Lanete, scorer Mac Tallo, post-creator Zachy Huang and stretch big Dennis Santos, vies for a spot in the main draw of the tournament in the qualifiers at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex in Qatar.
Manila Chooks TM will slug it out against Austria’s Graz and home team Doha for a spot in Pool D of the Masters happening on March 26 to 27.
Graz is headlined by Austria’s no. 4-ranked player Matthias Linortner and no. 11 Moritz Lanegger. Completing the squad are unranked players Fabricio Vay and Filip Kramer.
Qatar’s no. 14 player Babacar Dieng, meanwhile, leads the home team together with no. 11 Faisal Abuissa as well as Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem and Souley Ndour.
The Manila team admits height will be a challenge for it, but it is looking to compensate for it through “speed and shooting” and a go-getting mind-set.
The squad that survives the qualifiers advance to the tournament proper and join NY Harlem and Princeton, both of the United States, in Pool D. The two teams are no. 4 and 5, respectively, in the world club rankings.
Manila Chooks TM will play Graz on March 26 at 7:30 p.m. (Manila time), and Doha at 8:05 p.m. Pool games will also be played on the same day.
The matches of Manila Chooks TM will be shown over the Facebook pages of FIBA 3×3 and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas.
Liman (Serbia), Piran (Slovenia) and Sakiai Gulbele (Lithuania) play in Pool A while Pool B has Riga (Latvia), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Edmonton (Canada). Pool C has UB (Serbia), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Lusail (Qatar).
The FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters is a maximum-level (level 11) event. The champion will be awarded $40,000. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo