By Peter Atencio
Mark Jayven Tallo hit a game-winning, two-point outside shot in the last 40 seconds, lifting Cebu to a 21-19 triumph over Zavkhan MM Energy of Mongolia and sending the Cebuanos into the quarterfinals of the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters, Saturday at Ayala Malls Manila Bay.
Tallo finished with just three points for Cebu, which now gets ready to meet the Tokyo Olympic veterans of Liman-Huijan NE of Serbia in the knockout group of stage on Sunday.
“We were lucky. He got his last shot. We were a little off,” said coach Aldin Ayo as Cebu collected a win and a loss to settle for second in Pool A and join unbeaten UB Huishan of Serbia in the next phase.
Later, Chico Lanete scored two winning charities in the last 2:34 to power Manila to a 21-19 verdict over Zaisan-MMC Energy of Mongolia to finish Pool with the same 1-1 slate and reach the quarterfinal round with Cebu.
Zansar of Mongolia will clash with Manila for a semifinal seat at 5p.m., while Cebu meets Liman later at 5:25 p.m.
Lanete tallied a game-high 12 points for Cebu, while Ikhbayar Chuluunbaatar knocked in nine points for Zaisan.
The count was tied at 18-all when a driving shot from Avirmed Lhagvaa put the Mongolians ahead of the Cebuanos, 19-18.
Mike Harry Nzeusseu fired nine points and had nine boards for the Cebuanos, who bounced back from their 17-21 loss to Ub Huishan (Serbia).
Earlier, the Tokyo Olympic veterans of Liman posted two straight wins and also barged into the quarterfinals, emerging as among the unbeaten title contenders with UB Huishan of Serbia and Ulaanbaataar MMC Energy of Mongolia.
The 6’7” Serbian Mihailo Vasic, who is 8th in the world, lived up to the physical challenges of their bruising encounter with Warsaw Loto, 20-13, for win no. 2 and a sweep of Pool D.
Vasic, one of three members of the Serbian 3×3 national team, which edged Belgium for the bronze in the Tokyo Olympics, showed the way with 6’0” Kilijan Nebojsa with six points apiece in their 10-minute encounter.
“We played our best. We played with a lot of energy and focused on our defense,” said Vasic as his squad posted its first triumph with a 21-16 edging of Gurugram 3BL of India, 21-16.
Liman quickly took control of the game, after Nebojsa struck with a two-point outside shot which gave them a 4-0 lead.
They went on to take a six-point off Kilijan’s driving shot with 7:08 remaining.
Liman, according to Vasic, is preparing for Cebu-Chooks, whom they believe is a formidable squad.
Mongolia’s Ulaanbaataar also claimed a 2-0 sweep in Pool D following a 22-17 win over Zaisan, in their last game and a 22-11 stopping of Manila Chooks earlier.