Balanga Chooks-to-Go’s strong start in their first qualifier game in the 2019 Tinkoff Moscow Challenger all ended up for naught.
Facing a familiar foe, Balanga was stifled by host Moscow Inanomo, suffering a 14-21 loss, Friday evening at Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia.
The loss ended Balanga’s hopes of advancing to the main draw as only one team in the group would advance to the tournament proper.
Balanga ended the round with a 1-1 record while Moscow advanced to Pool C that includes fellow Russian squad Gagarin and Poland’s Gdarisk Energa after sweeping the round.
Unlike their first encounter in Doha, Balanga fell behind early as only Karl Dehesa was the only one who could find the bucket while Semen Debda made it rain from the outside to give Moscow an 8-3 lead with 7:22 remaining.
Travis Franklin, who was limited to just two points in the first game, tried to will Balanga on his own but Bebda and Mintautas Bulanovas kept coming at Balanga as Moscow’s lead grew to seven, 16-9.
With their backs against the wall, Balanga zoned in on defense as Alvin Pasaol scored inside followed by an and-one by Franklin.
Bulanovas though answered right back with a cold-blooded deuce to stop the Filipino rally.
Franklin and Dehesa tried to prevent the inevitable but Alexandr Pavlov’s two free throws and Yura Bespalov’s buzzer-beating putback ended the contest.
Pasaol, who had 10 points against Odessa in the first game of the day, was held down to just two points.
Franklin had eight points to lead Balanga while Dehesa added four markers.
Debda powered the Russians with 10 points built on four deuces.
Moscow 21 – Debda 10, Bulanovas 6, Pavlov 3, Bespalov 2.
Balanga 14 – Franklin 8, Dehesa 4, Pasaol 2, De Chavez 0.
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