Manila Chooks! will begin its post-Chico Lanete era on Friday on the sunny beaches of Neom, Saudi Arabia.
The country’s second-ranked 3×3 team will compete in the 2022 NEOM Super Quest — a qualifier for the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Hong Kong Masters and a part of the NEOM Beach Games 2022.
Composing Manila is a tall and young lineup, namely 6-foot-5 Dennis Santos (PH no. 5), 6-foot-8 Ken Holmqvist (PH no. 10), 6-foot-11 Nigerian import Henry Iloka, and 6-foot-7 Dave Ando.
“While we are still looking for new players for the crucial 2023 season, we still need to compete to close out the year,” said Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas. “And this opportunity to compete in NEOM will help us gauge who will be our foundational blocks for our teams next year.”
“Magandang test ito para sa Manila kung uubra ba ang big lineup namin against yung top teams in the world,” added Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 head trainer Chico Lanete. “Very crucial yung November 2022 to November 2023 kasi hindi lang competiting ang habol natin, kailangan na rin nating manalo. For the rest of the season, we will look to mix and match mga lineups natin.”
Manila Chooks!, seeded ninth in the tournament that has $10,000 going to the champion as well and $5,000 for the runner-up, is slotted in Pool A along with world no. 3 Riga of Latvia and no. 19 Warsaw of Poland.
Manila Chooks! will take on the Latvian quartet of Nauris Miezis (world no. 4), Karlis Lasmanis (no. 14), Edgars Krumins (no. 18), and Agnis Čavars (no. 19) on Friday at 8:45 PM.
The Filipinos then face the Polish quartet of Przemyslaw Zamojski (world no. 50), Szymon Rduch (Poland no. 2), Łukasz Diduszko (Poland no. 5), and Mateusz Bierwagen (Poland no. 8) at 10:45 PM.
Also competing in the slam dunk competition is Pinoy high flyer David Carlos in the Slam Dunk competition.
Hungry is Manila Chooks for a victory as their Cebu counterparts suffered a sweep during the 2022 FIBA 3×3 Tainan City Challenger last October 22.
The quartet of PH no. 1 Mac Tallo, no. 2 Brandon Ramirez, no. 11 Vince Tolentino, and Cameroonian import Mike Nzeusseu finished ninth among 16 teams after falling to world no. 1 Ub (22-14) and Utsunomiya (21-10).
“Gutom ang mga bata manalo,” admitted Lanete. “Kahit kaming mga coaches talagang gusto namin makabawi to close out the season.”