FIBA 3x3: Pasig, Liman set to cross paths anew
MANILA, Philippines – After facing off in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters, Filipino ball club Pasig Chooks-to-Go and Serbian powerhouse Liman are set for another battle as the Huaqiao International Kunshan Challenger gets going from May 18 to 19 in China.
Pasig Chooks is grouped in Pool A with Liman along with Russian team Sosnovy BorCopRosatom in the FIBA 3x3 Level 9 tourney that serves as qualifier for the Chengdu Masters.
The matchup is highly anticipated as Pasig Chooks shockingly took down then world No. 1 Liman, 19-16, on the first day of the Doha Masters last April. (WATCH: Pasig Chooks stuns world No. 1 Liman in 3x3 World Tour)
Eyes are on Pasig Chooks if they will be able to replicate the feat, but they might find it tougher to do so this time as they won’t have the services of injured imports Angelo Tsagarakis and Nikola Pavlovic.
Pavlovic is nursing a swollen left hand while Tsagarakis is still recovering from a semi-fractured rib, which he sustained during the Doha Masters.
Without the two World Tour veterans, Pasig Chooks will field the team that won the inaugural Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup – Joshua Munzon and Taylor Statham, who will be rejoined by Troy Rike and Dylan Ababou.
"I have the utmost confidence in Troy and Dylan," said Statham. "We played together for 4 months and it doesn't matter how good players are, the team camaraderie is what's so important. And you can't replicate the experience."
Munzon and Statham know that it will be challenging without Pavlovic and Tsagarakis, but that doesn't mean they only see slim chances against Liman.
"We won the local league championship together so I feel like we have that chemistry," said Munzon. "Experience is everything in 3x3. We definitely hope they get their rhythm and can contribute and do their thing too."
Pasig opens its campaign against Sosnovy on Saturday at 5:55 pm before taking on Liman at 7:40 pm.
The top two teams in the group will advance to the knockout playoffs on Sunday.
The winner of the tournament will bring home a ticket to the Chengdu Masters and US $15,000. The runner-up will pocket $10,000, while third and fourth-placed squads will go home with $5,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Games will be shown live at FIBA 3x3's Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqhzr913pCY). – Rappler.com