Manila Chooks TM faces a daunting task after being grouped alongside world No. 1 Liman and home side Lusali in Pool A of the FIBA 3×3 Doha World Tour Masters which starts Friday at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
The team of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike and Santi Santillan are determined to overcome such obstacles in hopes of making it to the knockout phase of the first World Masters stint for a Philippine team since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“It’s definitely going to be a test for us to square against those European teams but you know I think we’re ready mentally, physically,” said Munzon, whose team needs a top two finish in order to reach the quarterfinals.
Munzon and company open the tourney at 11:55 p.m. Manila time Friday opposite Liman, which is composed of 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Most Valuable Player Stefan Stojacic, World No. 3 Stefan Kojic, No. 4 Mihailo Vasic and No. 6 Aleksandar Ratkov.
Liman is no stranger for Munzon, Pasaol, Rike and Santillan, having faced the Serbian squad in last year’s Doha event.
Munzon teamed up with Taylor Statham, Nikola Pavlovic and Angelo Tsagarakis in stunning Liman, 19-16, in the pool stages while Pasaol, Santillan, Karl Dehesa and Travis Franklin fell short against the same team, 21-9, in the quarterfinals.
“I think we’re ready as we can be and we’ll see how things go. I am confident with my team. We’re ready to get after it,” said Munzon.
The Manila Chooks TM roster was the same squad that represented Zamboanga City-Family’s Brand Sardines during its successful title run in the recent Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup held at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The players arrived earlier this week but had to wait for a negative result of their PCR tests before being allowed to prepare for the two-day competition.