CEBU CITY – Mac Tallo came in clutch yet again as Manila Chooks! weathered Futian, 21-17, to clinch a seat in the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters quarterfinals, Saturday night at the SM Seaside City here.
The Philippines’ top-ranked 3×3 player finished with nine points, none more important than his deuce with 1:40 left to finish off the team from China and secure the penultimate ticket to the knockout stage’s opening round on Sunday.
Marcus Hammonds provided five points. Tosh Sesay made four points, while Marquez Letcher-Ellis supplied three points as Chooks-to-Go’s flagship team wrapped up its group play run as the no. 2 seed in Pool C (1-1).
It sure is a sweet triumph for Tallo, who did not taste a single win in the previous edition of the Cebu Masters as his Cebu Chooks! went 0-2 in the preliminaries.
Things actually appeared bleak for the hometown hero when his personal losing skid got extended following a 20-14 loss to Vienna in their campaign opener earlier in the day, but all that changed after the dramatic conquest of Futian.
But the victory meant so much more for the program as a whole, as Chooks finally tasted a win in the World Tour Masters for the first time since the Manila leg last year. It was also their last playoff appearance.
“Ang mentality namin mula kaninang umaga, kahit mag-cramps man tayo, o kahit ma-injure tayo ibuhos na natin lahat kasi I think it’s been a year na hindi kami nakapasok ng Day Two ng mga tournaments,” Tallo said.
WIth the win, Manila assured that a Philippine-based team will see action in the quarters, where they will take on Ub Huishan NE, Pool A’s best team.
Lubao MCFASolver wanted to make it two Filipino representatives but it bowed to Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, 21-17, in the final game of Day 1.
Jose Blazquez led the way with 11 points but his efforts weren’t enough as the Pampanga-based team bowed out with a 0-2 record.
Steve Sir had nine points to lead the Mongolian side, who finished as the second seed in Pool D (1-1) and will face Amsterdam HiPro.
Other teams that reached the quarterfinals are Wuxi and San Juan as they secured the no. 2 seeds of Pools A and B, respectively.
The China-based team got its slot by giving Sansar MMC Energy the boot, 21-12. The Puerto Ricans followed suit after outlasting Paris in a thriller, 21-19.
Both teams, though, will have tall orders ahead in the next round. Wuxi is set to face Pool C’s best in Vienna, while San Juan battles Pool D’s no. 1 in Miami.
Pool A 3
Wuxi (21) – Mijovic 8, Stojacic 6, Wang 6, Li 1.
Sansar MMC Energy (12) – Onolbaatar 5, Chuluunbaatar 4, Ariunbold 3, Nasanbat 0.
Pool B 3
San Juan (21) – Ralat 10, Ocasio 6, Cuascut 3, Allende 2.
Paris (19) – Rambaut 9, Seguela 6, Vialaret 4, Aygalenq 0.
Pool C 3
Manila Chooks! (21) – Tallo 9, Hammonds 5, Sesay 4, Letcher-Ellis 3.
Futian (18) – van der Horst 10, Zhang 3, Chen 2, Guo 2.
Pool D 3
Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (21) – Sir 9, Enkhbat 5, Davaasambuu 5, Tsogt 2.
Lubao MCFASolver (17) – Blazquez 11, Kujundzic 3, Tumalip 2, Nzeusseu 1.