Despite not making it to the main draw, Manila Chooks put up a gallant stand in the qualifying draw of the 2021 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters, going 1-1, Friday evening at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
Austria’s Graz, however, was the team that advanced to the main draw after going 2-0 in the pool with a 22-17 win over Manila Chooks to open the day and a 21-5 beatdown of Doha.
Still, it was a good start for the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 program which had to restart after the departures of key players after the 2021 season.
Chico Lanete made sure that they won’t go home empty-handed, burying an extra-time game-winner to stun home team Doha, 21-20.
In the race to two overtime, Doha had the advantage after a basket by Qatar’s no. 14-ranked player Babacar Dieng.
Lanete’s initial attempt from downtown was initially blocked by 6-foot-3 Faisal Abuissa. The former 5-on-5 vet, who is the oldest player in the 14-team meet at 41, though was able to recover, faking out Abuissa before knocking down the cold-blooded deuce.
It was the first win of any Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas team in Doha since 2019.
Manila Chooks was down 8-2 early before Dennis Santos and Mac Tallo rallied the team back with the latter eventually forcing overtime with a daredevil drive for a lay-in with 5.4 seconds left.
Santos, an unheralded 6-foot-5 stretch forward, had nine points while Lanete and Tallo added six and four markers, respectively.
Six-foot-7 Abdelrahman Yehia had nine points for Doha while 6-foot-10 Souley Ndour chipped in six.
In the first game, Manila Chooks could not sustain its strong start versus Graz as it led 8-4 early.
Matthias Linortner, the fourth-ranked player in Austria who stands at 6-foot-6, dominated from the inside, scoring 12 points to lead Graz’s rally. Moritz Lanegger, who knocked down the game-winner with 19.8 seconds left, added six markers.
Tallo paced Manila Chooks in the game with seven points. Santos and Lanete added four points while Zachary Huang added two.