FIBA 3×3: Cebu Chooks crashes out of Masters at home

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CEBU City — Cebu Chooks bowed out of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2022 Cebu Masters after falling flat at the hands of Omaha 3BALL United States, 14-21 on Saturday evening at a packed SM Seaside City here.

The hometown bets fell prey to the Americans’ pinpoint accuracy from two-point distance, so much so that they trailed by as much as seven points, 11-18 with less than four minutes to go before eventually failing to book a ticket to the quarterfinals.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for Chooks 3×3, as none of the program’s teams advanced to the next round — a far cry from the Manila Masters last May that saw both Cebu and Manila reach the knockout stages.

Manila had to go through a qualifying draw in the ongoing World Tour Masters leg, but could not advance after bowing to Doha QSC, 21-16.

Mike Harry Nzesseu carried the fight for Cebu with eight points and six rebounds in the loss. Mac Tallo and Brandon Ramirez had three each.

Malik Hluchoweckyj led Omaha with nine points in their bounce-back win after suffering an 18-14 loss to Pool A top seed Antwerp of Belgium earlier. Trey Bardsley and Dylan Travis scored five each, while Mitch Hahn added two.

Omaha is now bound for the quarters set on Sunday, together with three other teams that completed the cast in the last stretch of the pool stage.

The playoffs will commence at 4:00 p.m, beginning with Antwerp locking horns with the second-best team of Pool C in Saitama, the reigning Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 International Quest champions.

Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, the best team in Pool D, and Pool B’s No. 2 Utsunomiya Brex take on one another next in an all-Asian affair.

Familiar foes Riga and Lausanne will duke it out in the third QF duel, while Omaha and Amsterdam are facing each other to finalize the semis cast.

Champion at the end of this max-level FIBA 3×3 tournament will take home USD 40,000, with the runner-up settling for USD 30,000.

Photo from Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas

Nguyễn J. Văn Linh (Levi Verora)