CEBU – Cebu Chooks! fell short in its bid to wield the upset ax on a powerhouse following a tough 16-11 defeat to Antwerp in the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters, Saturday at the SM Seaside here.
Mac Tallo dazzled in willing the hometown bets back into the match after falling behind by four twice, but his efforts were not enough as Dennis Donkor dashed their hopes after striking the dagger with 31.5 seconds left.
“Sayang. Naka-dalawa na sila sa amin,” lamented the Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 player, referring to their 19-12 loss to the third-best team in the world back in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Dubai Expo Super Quest last April.
Tallo finished with five points and five rebounds, including back-to-back highlight-worthy assists to Mike Harry Nzeusseu that brought the squad to within just two, 13-11, with 1:15 remaining in the game.
That, unfortunately, was the closest Cebu could get as buckets were hard to come by. Antwerp then went on to flex its experience, with Donkor nailing a tough fallaway jumper as the shot clock expired.
The game slowly went away from the hosts’ hands, and Bryan De Valck applied the finishing touches to steer the visitors atop Pool A.
De Valck led the cagers from Belgium with nine points. Donkor had four, while Thibaut Vervoot and Nick Celis combined for three markers.
Cebu will look to rebound against Omaha 3BALL of the United States later tonight at 7:00 p.m. to fan its quarterfinal aspirations.
“Alam namin na kaya namin sila (Antwerp), pero kinulang. Babawi kami,” vowed Tallo, who’s playing in his hometown for the first time as a pro.
Meanwhile, Riga of Latvia opened its campaign with a 22-14 conquest of Japan’s Utsonomiya Brex in a battle of Pool B squads.
Sitting atop Pool C is Amsterdam following a masterful 22-11 victory over 2022 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 International Quest kings Saitama.
Mongolian side Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, lastly, is currently leading Pool D after a 21-10 waylaying of Doha QSC, the team that ruled the qualifying draw prior to the main draw opener by beating Manila Chooks! via 21-16 result.
Pool A Game 1:
Antwerp 16 – De Valck 9, Donkor 4, Vervoort 2, Celis 1.
Cebu 11 – Tallo 5, Nzeusseu 5, Ramirez 1, Huang 0.
Pool B Game 1:
Riga 22 – Miezis 9, Lasmanis 9, Krumins 3, Čavars 1.
Utsunomiya 14 – Saito 7, Popović 4, Iijima 2, Samardžić 1.
Time: Miezis – 2 (9:29.80)
Pool C Game 1
Amsterdam 22 – Slagter 11, Van Der Horst 6, Driessen 5.
Saitama 11 – Ozawa 5, Atanasov 3, Milaković 2, Ochiai 1.
Time: Slagter – 2 (9:32.7)
Pool D Game 1:
Ulaanbaatar 21 – Sir 7, Davaasambuu 7, Tsogt 4, Enkhbat 3.
Doha 10 – Ndoye 5, Janjić 3, Abdelaziz 2, Diop 0.
Time: Davaasambuu – 2 (7:25)