Cebu Chooks pulled off all the stops down the stretch to take down the Sansar MMC Energy in a thrilling finale, 17-15, to emerge as the champions of the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Asia Pacific Super Quest on Saturday night at the Ayala Malls Solenad Activity Center in Laguna.
The Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 player, Macmac Tallo, led the assault with eight points, none more dramatic than his two-pointer from the left corner that gave his side the 15-14 advantage. The 28-year-old Cebuano would, later on, hit the dagger with 1:16 left, eventually settling the final count as the opposition could not find the mark.
Cebu and its Mongolian counterparts are both headed to the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters on May 28-29 at SM Megamall.
“Sobrang sarap! Dadalhin namin ang momentum na ito sa Manila Masters. Fifteen-percent pa lang ito sa totoong goal namin,” said Tallo.
“The team deserved this after everything they went through for the past two years,” added Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas head trainer Aldin Ayo. “But there are still more games to be won. This is just the start for the team.”
Mike Harry Nzesseu provided seven points, while tireless workhorse Zach Huang chipped in two markers in the historic triumph that also netted them USD 10,000 by lording over the Level 8 FIBA 3×3 Tournament.
Cebu Chooks have become the first Philippine team in a long while to win a gold medal in the FIBA 3×3 Pro Circuit, or since the all-pro Manila West defeated Doha to conquer the World Tour Manila Masters back in 2014.
“Coach Ayo always reminds us to take it one game at a time. And we will keep that mindset wherever we will go,” offered Nzeusseu, whose side concluded the Asia Pacific Super Quest unscathed with a 5-0 overall record.
Enkhbaatar Onolbaatar finished with nine points to lead Sansar, who couldn’t solve the Cebu puzzle as they lost to the same team in the pool stage.
Anand Ariunbold backed him up with four points, while Sukhbat Batzorig and Gansukh Avarzed scored one each in the defeat.
Sansar, meanwhile, also brought home USD 5,000.
Meanwhile, Aldous Torculas defeated David Carlos by a point to become the Sudan Daniel Slam Dunk champion. The young highflyer from the University of the Philippines took home P20,000 as well.