MANILA, Philippines – Former UAAP wingman CJ Payawal made an impact right on his debut as Manila Chooks clinched a quarterfinal berth in the FIBA 3×3 Pro League Netherlands 2023 Winter Edition Stop 1.
Lacking in manpower but not in heart, the Filipino 3×3 cagers advanced to the next round after ripping Amstelveen of the Netherlands, 21-13 (3:07), in Pool D action on Friday, March 10, at the Amsterdam Velodrome.
The 6-foot-5 Payawal, a one-and-done standout for the University of the East in the UAAP last year, dazzled with 14 points for Manila Chooks, while the country’s No. 1 3×3 player Mac Tallo chipped in 5 points.
Dennis Santos also had 2 as the wards of head trainer Chico Lanete atoned for a 14-22 loss to world No. 15 Utrecht of the Netherlands in the opener.
More importantly, the triumph allowed Manila Chooks to forge a quarterfinal duel with Poland’s world No. 23 Warsaw Lotto 3×3 on Saturday, March 11, at 2:45 am at the same venue.
The Polish completed a two-game sweep of their pool play campaign with wins over Paramaribo of the Netherlands (22-14) and Germany’s Hannover (16-14).
“Of course I’m happy and proud of the players,” Lanete said in Filipino. “They really played, we can’t disregard the fact that we only had three players left against Amstelveen because that’s not easy.”
“They were able to apply what we did in practice, the hustle was there and we made our outside shots,” he added.
Shrugging off the sudden absence of big man Brandon Ramirez, who suffered a swollen right knee injury in the game against Utrecht, Manila Chooks unleashed a vicious 10-2 windup that broke an 11-all count behind Payawal and Tallo.
Payawal’s two-pointer made it 20-13 before his layup sealed the deal for Manila Chooks in the FIBA level 8 tourney that also includes world No. 5 Amsterdam of the Netherlands and world No. 21 Düsseldorf of Germany.
Lanete downplayed Manila Chooks’ big triumph and maintained the job is not yet done.
“We can’t be overconfident,” said Lanete. “As they say, ‘you are just as good as your last game.’ We’re happy but we need to prepare for our next games.”
In the other Last 8 tiffs, Amsterdam of the Netherlands collides with Canada’s Toronto at 1:30 am, while Hannover of Germany faces Utrecht at 1:55 in the morning.
Germany’s Dusseldorf tackles Brussels of Belgium at 2:20 am.
The tilt will be made up of three stops and a final, with the winner after three stops taking home $15,000 and a ticket to Manila Masters, while the second and third placers will bag $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
In the final event, the top team will earn $15,000 and a slot to the Macau Masters. The second and third placers will get $7,000 and $5,000, respectively.
Fans can watch the games live on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas’ Facebook page. – Rappler.com
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