With wingman CJ Payawal promptly making an impact in his debut with the squad, Manila Chooks! hurdled Amstelveen of the Netherlands on Friday, and hit an immediate target.
Lacking in manpower but not in heart, Filipino 3×3 cagers ripped the Dutch 21-13 (3:07) in Pool D action to advance to the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3X3 Pro League Netherlands 2023 Winter Edition Stop 1 at the Amsterdam Velodrome.
The 6-foot-5 Payawal, a one-and-done standout for University of the East in the UAAP last year, dazzled with 14 points for Manila Chooks!. Meanwhile, the country’s No. 1 3×3 player Mac Tallo chipped in five points.
Dennis Santos also had two as the wards of head trainer Chico Lanete atoned for a 14-22 loss to world No. 15 Utrecht of the Netherlands in their opener.
More importantly, the triumph allowed Manila Chooks! to forge a quarterfinals duel with Poland’s world No. 23 Warsaw Lotto 3×3 today, March 11, at 2:45 a.m. at the same venue.
The Polish completed a two-game sweep of their Pool play campaign with wins over Paramaribo of the Netherlands (22-14) and Germany’s Hannover (16-14).
“Siyempre masaya tayo diyan. Masaya ako at proud din ako sa kanila. Naglaro talaga sila and hindi natin puwedeng i-disregard iyong fact na tatlo na lang silang naglaro against Amstelveen dahil hindi madali iyon,” Lanete said.
“Nai-apply nila iyong mga ginagawa namin sa practice, iyong hustle nandoon at pumapasok iyong mga outside shots nila,” he added.
Shrugging off the sudden absence of big man Brandon Ramirez, who suffered a swollen right knee injury in the game against Utrecht, Manila Chooks! unleashed a vicious 10-2 windup that broke an 11-all count behind Payawal and Tallo.
Payawal’s two-pointer made it 20-13 before his layup sealed the deal for Manila Chooks! in the FIBA level 8 tourney that also includes world No. 5 Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and world No. 21 Düsseldorf of Germany.
Lanete downplayed Manila Chooks! big triumph and maintained the job is not yet done.
“Hindi pa rin tayo puwedeng maging overconfident. Sabi nga ‘You are just as good as your last game.’ Masaya tayo pero tapos na iyon,” he said. “Kailangan na namin paghandaan ngayon iyong susunod na game namin.”
In the other Last 8 tiffs, Amsterdam of the Netherlands collides with Canada’s Toronto at 1:30 AM, while Hannover of Germany faces Utrecht at 1:55 in the morning.
Germany’s Dusseldorf tackles Brussels of Belgium at 2:20 AM.
The tilt will be made up of three stops and a final, with the winner after three stops taking home $15,000 and a ticket to Manila Masters, while the second and third placers will bag $10,000 and $5,000.
In the final event, the top team will earn $15,000 and a slot in the Macau Masters. The second and third placers will get $7,000 and $5,000, respectively.
Fans can watch the games live on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas’ Facebook page.