Manila Chooks TM fell to world No. 1 Liman and home side Lusail Friday night (early Saturday Manila time) to bow out of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
The team of Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike and Santi Santillan suffered a 22-15 defeat to Liman before its bid to reach the quarterfinals was thwarted by Lusail with a 19-14 setback in Pool A.
Not even a stirring performance by Munzon, particularly against Liman, could prevent Manila from seeing the first international competition by a Philippine 3×3 team since the COVID-19 pandemic end in a jiffy.
Munzon hit three two-pointers as Manila reduced a 12-5 deficit to 15-13, much to the delight of Filipino fans who came to watch the tournament.
But Liman proved to be too much for Manila as 6-foot-6 players Mihailo Vasic and Stefan Kojic took charge before Stefan Stojacic ended the match with 2:22 remaining on a two-pointer.
Stojacic is no stranger to Munzon, Pasaol, Rike and Santillan, having served as head trainer of Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament that was put on hold because of the pandemic.
Manila tried to bounce back in the next game but Senegalese Souley Ndour and Greek Kostas Vasileiadis powered Lusail to an upset victory.