Manila Chooks’ magical run in the 2022 Ulaanbaatar FIBA 3×3 Super Quest ended at the hands of old foe Zaisan MMC Energy, absorbing a 16-21 (5:01) defeat in the semifinals on Saturday at UB Arena in Mongolia.
Already familiar with each other as both teams faced off in the pool stages of the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Asia Pacific Super Quest last May 1, the two squads figured in a nip-and-tuck affair in the early part of the contest.
Midway through the semifinals tilt of this level 8-FIBA 3×3 tournament though, Ikhbayar Chuluunbaatar caught fire, draining back-to-back deuces to give the home team a 19-15 edge with 5:13 remaining.
Henry Iloka tried to stop the Manila bleeding but Gan-Erdene Gantsolmon drained a deuce with 4:59 left to punch their ticket to the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters which is slated to take place from May 28-29.
Gantsolmon, Mongolia’s no. 3-ranked player, dropped 12 points in the contest built on five deuces. Chuluunbaatar added seven markers.
Dennis Santos was the top scorer for Manila with six points while Chico Lanete chipped in four.
Also qualifying for the Manila Masters is Ulaanbaatar as it defeated Zavkhan in the other bracket, 22-17.
Manila finished in fourth place in the tournament while Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3’s other team Cebu ended up in sixth place.
Cebu Chooks lost to Zavkhan in the quarterfinals, 20-17.
The two Philippine teams will train with Serbia’s top 3×3 teams starting on May 16 in Manila.
Earlier in the day, Chico Lanete scored a clutch deuce to lift Manila Chooks to a 21-20 (8:22) victory over Japan’s Yokohama Beefman in the quarterfinals.
Figuring in a nip-and-tuck affair that saw both teams exchange leads at a furious pace, it was the 42-year-old Lanete who stepped up.
Down 20-19 with 1:38 left, Lanete knocked down a cold-blooded deuce to seal Manila’s place in this Level 8-FIBA 3×3 tournament that has two tickets to the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters at stake.
Lanete ended up with six points on two deuces.