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The Mac Tallo-led Cebu Chooks gave their best and challenged world top-ranked squad Ub Huishan NE of Serbia before falling, 21-17 on Saturday in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2022 Manila Masters at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay.
A barrage of long twos from Tallo, the no. 1 Filipino 3×3 player, gave the Filipino side a 14-12 lead over the heavily-favored Serbian squad.
However, Dejan “The Maestro” Majstorovic, a Tokyo Olympics 2020 bronze medalist in the discipline, took over after, draining a two of his own to tie the game, before adding a bucket to give Ub the 15-14 edge.
Two free throws by Marko Brankovic pushed the lead up to three after Cebu Chooks entered penalty situation.
Tallo again drained a two to cut the deficit down to one, 17-16 but Brankovic and Majstorovic answered with a layup and a two-pointer.
Later on, Majstorovic sealed the win with a basket off a cut to the hoop.
Ub took a 7-4 lead early on, but Tallo knocked down three long-range shots in a stretch that enabled Cebu Chooks to tie the count at 11 apiece.
Cebu, composed of Tallo, Zachy Huang, Mike Harry Nzeusseu, and Brandon Ramirez will have to beat Zavkhan MMC Energy of Mongolia later in Pool A to have a shot at advancing to the playoffs tomorrow.