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3x3 Basketball

Tallo, Desiderio team up for first time in Ulaanbaatar

On the lookout for another scoring threat to back him up, Mac Tallo, the country’s No. 1 3×3 player, has finally gotten what he wanted.

Former Blackwater and Cebuano guard Paul Desiderio will beef up Manila Chooks! that is set to do battle in the FIBA 3×3 Ulaanbaatar Super Quest.

Aside from Tallo and Desiderio, the all-Filipino 3×3 cagers also have No. 2 Brandon Ramirez and No. 12 CJ Payawal in the FIBA level 8 tilt set to kick off tomorrow, April 22, at the Royal 3×3 Lounge in Ub Palace, Mongolia.

“For me, Paul is a big help kasi we all know how he plays and alam natin kung saan siya magaling. Ang sarap ng buhay na may kasama ka sa isang aspeto na kulang ang team and alam natin scoring machine siya and he has a high basketball IQ,” Tallo said of Desiderio, a native of Liloan town.

“During our practices, we jell instantly not just because the same kami ng hometown, but we complement each other inside the court,” he added.

The 6-foot-1 Desiderio vowed to prove his worth in his maiden stint in 3×3 international play.

“I’m excited and determined to do well in this tournament, and it feels great to be playing with Mac because he is the No.1 3×3 player in the country,” he said.

“I just want to help the team win more games. This will be my first time competing in a 3×3 international level, but with our team’s effort, I know we are working hard every day for this, and we will try our best and just go out there and win,” the UP product continued.

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Chooks-to-go President Ronald Mascariñas is convinced the wards of head trainer Chico Lanete have what it takes.

“The Mongolian teams have proven to be our fiercest rivals in the pro circuit. Our team will have to bring its A-Game to Ulaanbaatar,” Mascariñas said. “With the stronger offensive core of our all-Filipino squad coupled with great leadership and communication, I believe our team will be one of the teams to beat in the tournament. They will come prepared.”

Grouped in Pool D, Manila Chooks! takes on Utsunomiya Brex of Japan at 6:05 p.m. before it battles Mongolia’s Bayangol Broncos at 7:55 p.m. Also seeing action in the joust are world No. 7 and 2023 Asia Cup champion Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy of Mongolia and No. 9 Sansar MMC Energy, also of Mongolia.

The tourney has $15,000 prize money for the champion, $10,000 for the runner-up, and $5,000 for the third placer. The top two teams after the meet will also gain slots to the World Tour Manila Masters next month. Fans can watch the games live on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas’ Facebook page and the YouTube channel of FIBA 3×3.

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