CEBU CITY – Lubao MCFASolver overcame a sluggish start and beat Auckland, 17-11, to sweep its way to the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters 2023 main draw, Saturday at the SM Seaside City here.
Mike Nzeusseu led the way with eight points as he spearheaded the blistering 12-0 run for a commanding 16-6 lead with under three minutes left to play en route to topping the qualifying draw with a perfect 2-0 record.
The unheralded team of Coach Anton Altamirano first beat Taichung Hong Jia, 19-10, before taking down their counterparts from New Zealand to secure the lone ticket to the pool stage, where they will be slotted in Pool D.
Awaiting them in the said group are Miami from the United States and Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy from Mongolia — two of the tournament favorites.
Spanish gunner Jose Blazquez contributed six points, while halfcourt veteran TH Tumalip chipped in three for the Pampanga-based side.
Members of the Quezon City-Wilcon Depot team that ruled the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Quest 3.0 last August, Blazquez and Tumalip helped Nzeusseu out in the aforementioned run that overwhelmed the opposition.
Auckland, on the other hand, were led by the seven points of Christopher McIntosh in the defeat. Takiula Fahrensohn added two points.
They actually tried to come back by managing to close within five, 16-11, but Nzeusseu killed their momentum with a shot from point-blank.
It was indeed a disappointing loss for Auckland, who put on a dominant showing to beat a spent Taichung, 22-7, in its opening assignment.
Lubao 19 – Blazquez 8, Nzeusseu 6, Kujundžić 5, Tumalip 0.
Taichung 10 – Luo 5, Huang 2, Chen 2, Wei 1.
Auckland 22 – Fahrensohn 12, Mccullough 8, McIntosh 2, Brooke 0.
Taichung 7 – Huang 3, Chen 2, Luo 2, Wei 0.
Lubao (17) – Nzeusseu 8, Blazquez 6, Tumalip 3, Kujundzic 0.
Auckland (11) – McIntosh 7, Fahrensohn 2, Brooke 1, Mccullough 1.