Mike Harry Nzeusseu and Mac Tallo made big plays down the stretch as Cebu Chooks ousted Zavkhan MMC Energy with a pulsating 21-19 win on Saturday at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay and barge into the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters 2022.
Nzeusseu scored three straight points that erased a 16-18 deficit and gave the Filipino side a 19-18 edge with under a minute left.
Avirmed Lhagvaa then had an answer to tie the match at 19 apiece, before Tallo knocked down the game-winning two-pointer with 40 seconds left to spare.
The win enabled Cebu Chooks to advance to the quarterfinals after placing second in Pool A behind Ub Huishan NE of Serbia.
They will face another Serbian team, Liman Huishan NE in the playoffs tomorrow. Liman topped Pool C with wins over Gurugram 3BL of India and Warsaw Lotto of Poland.
Cebu had a strong start, building a 9-4 advantage early on, but an 8-1 run from the visitors made it 12-10.
From there, it was a thrilling back-and-forth ballgame. Big man Brandon Ramirez would keep the Aldin Ayo-coached squad close with key baskets, and Nzeusseu took over.
Manila Chooks, meanwhile, will have to beat Zaisan MMC Energy (Mongolia) in order to join Cebu in the Last 8.
Represented by Chico Lanete, Dennis Santos, Ken Holmqvist, and Henry Iloka, Manila was overmatched by Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (Mongolia)’s firepower earlier in the day, 22-11 in Pool D.
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