MANILA, Philippines – The world’s top 3×3 basketball teams showed the Philippines why they’re on that plane.
Powerhouses Liman and Riga Ghetto taught Balanga Chooks and Pasig Chooks what the next level was during the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in Doha on Friday, April 19 (Saturday, April 20, Manila time).
Balanga got overwhelmed by world No. 1 Liman, 9-21, while Pasig fell to world No. 3 Riga, 15-21, that ended their title aspirations in the first of 12 World Tour legs this season.
Still, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 commissioner Eric Altamirano remains proud of the stand put up by the two Philippine squads as the teams that bested them eventually moved on to the final.
Riga wound up ruling the tournament to cop its first 3×3 Masters crown.
“We made a statement that we belong here in the World Tour,” he said as Pasig stunned Liman, 19-16, while Balanga shocked Riga, 19-17, during the pool stages last Thursday.
“Seeing the level of play here and knowing that we can keep up with the world’s best, it will definitely make our players hungrier to get back in the next legs of the World Tour,” he continued.
Riga took down the Doha Masters, taking a close 15-14 win over Liman, who snapped the 35-game winning streak of Novi Sad, 20-17, during the semifinals.
The Pasig quartet of Taylor Statham, Joshua Munzon, Angelo Tsagarakis, and Nikola Pavlovic, who swept Pool A, settled for 5th place to bring home US $5,000, while Balanga’s Travis Franklin, Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, and Santi Santillan, who swept Pool C, finished 6th in the 12-team meet.
Seeing that Filipino players are at par with the world’s finest, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas vowed that there will be more to come for Philippine 3×3 basketball.
“Now that we are back in the game, we will join every 3×3 tournament FIBA wants us to join,” he declared. “This is just the start for us. We will continue to raise the level of our league, hoping that one day we can be seen by the world as one of the elite 3×3 basketball countries.”
In the dunk competition, David Carlos‘ jaw-dropping set of jams was not enough to take down 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Dunk Champion Vadim Miller.
Carlos’ three-dunk show that was highlighted by a scorpion dunk over Pasaol only ended up with a total score of 85. Miller, on the other hand, put on a flawless performance for a score of 90.
Air David with more hops than the easter bunny #3x3WT pic.twitter.com/JNAU5BoyUQ— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) April 19, 2019
The 5-foot-9 Filipino dunk artist still brought home $500 for his efforts.
Pasig Chooks will move on to the Kunshan Challenger from May 18 to 19, a qualifier to the Chengdu Masters.
Then on June 1, the second conference of Chooks 3×3, the Patriots’ Cup, will raise its curtains at the SM Seaside Events Center in Cebu. – Rappler.com
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