World no. 2 Riga Ghetto of Latvia stamped their class on Balanga Chooks, booting the Philippine-side out of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Manila Challenger with a masterful 22-15 (7:45) win, Saturday afternoon.
Top 3×3 player in the world Karlis Lasmanis took over late, capping his performance with the game-winning deuce with 2:15 left in the game.
Lasmanis had five points in the game.
“Talagang magaling sila pero no regrets kami. Binigay namin ang lahat ng makakaya namin,” said Alvin Pasaol.
Balanga could not come out with the win in this tournament that serves as a qualifier for the 2019 FIBA 3X3 Jeddah Masters, falling to Humpolec earlier in the day, 16-22. Humpolec joins Riga in the next round of the tournament on Sunday.
Still, Balanga put up a fight.
Down 7-12 midway through the contest, Alvin Pasaol and Lamar Roberson joined hands in a 5-0 spurt, capped by a Pasaol deuce that sliced the lead to one with 4:31 remaining.
Roberson had six points while Pasaol added three points for Balanga.
“Experience ito sa amin para sa mga susunod na tournament namin,” added Pasaol.
However, Riga showed uncanny calm, fending off Balanga’s rally with a huge endgame spurt.
Besides Lasmanis, Edgars Krumins put on a show, scoring nine points built on four free throws, three one-pointers, and a deuce.
Travis Franklin also had six points for Balanga.
Riga 22 – Krumins 9, Lasmanis 5, Miezis 4, Strēlnieks 4.
Balanga 15 – Franklin 6, Roberson 6, Pasaol 3, Dehesa 0.