DOHA — Confidence is high for Manila Chooks hours before stepping onto the halfcourt of the Al Gharafa Sports Complex here.
Before the team left the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, the quartet of Philippines no. 1 3×3 player Joshua Munzon, no. 2 Alvin Pasaol, no. 5 Troy Rike, and no. 6 Santi Santillan received their final marching orders from team head coach Aldin Ayo and assistant coach McJour Luib through Zoom.
There will be no pleasantries when the team squares off against their head trainer Stefan Stojacic and Liman in Pool A action in the 2020 FIBA 3X3 Doha World Tour Masters at 11:55PM in the Philippines.
“Galit-galit muna kami ni Coach Stefan mamaya,” quipped team captain Alvin Pasaol.
An upset win over Liman will prove that anything is possible in this tournament that has US$40,000 waiting for the champion.
It will also be a much-needed momentum boost for the team when it takes on home team Lusail at 1:35PM.
Munzon has proven that beating top 3×3 team in the world Liman is possible.
Back in the 2019 edition of the tournament, Pasig Chooks — composed of Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, Nikola Pavlovic, and Angelo Tsagarakis — stunned Liman in the pool stages with a 19-16 win.
“We are undersized but can make up for that by displaying toughness and work rate,” said the 25-year-old gunner.
“Hopefully we can have a good showing because we finished off last year quite badly after a really strong start,” he continued.
Pasig and the Alvin Pasaol-led Balanga could not make it past the quarterfinals last year.
The top two teams in Pool A will crossover with the top two of Pool C — which is composed of world no. 4 NY Harlem, no. 14 Lausanne of Switzerland, and Lithuania’s Utena — in the knockout quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Doha Masters will air on FIBA 3X3’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.