ALTHOUGH ranged against a top-ranked and familiar foe, Manila Chooks TM is unfazed in the 2020 FIBA 3×3 Doha World Tour Masters.
Fil-Am forward Joshua Munzon admitted he and his teammates – Alvin Pasaol, Troy Rike and Leonard Santillan – will have their hands full against world No. 1 Liman in pool A of the tourney that gets going tomorrow at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
“It’s definitely going to be a test for us to square against those European teams, but you know I think we’re ready mentally, physically,” Munzon said. “I think we’re ready as we can be, and we’ll see how things go. I am confident with my team. We’re ready to get after it.”
“We have played more recently than probably most of the other teams here. We’re kinda still in game mode and team mode heading right into that,” added Rike, also a Fil-Am.
In last year’s edition of the tournament, Pasig Chooks, composed of Munzon, Taylor Statham, Nikola Pavlovic, and Angelo Tsagarakis with Rike as reserve, stunned Liman in the pool stage with a 19-16 win.
In the same tourney, Balanga Chooks, a team then made up of now-Manila players Pasaol and Santillan along with Karl Dehesa and Travis Franklin, fell to Liman in the quarterfinals 9-21.
Liman boasts of 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Tour MVP Stefan Stojacic, world No. 3 Stefan Kojic, No. 4 Mihailo Vasic, and No. 6 Aleksandar Ratkov.
Lusail, which battles Manila on Saturday at 1:35 a.m., has 36-year-old Greek Vasileiadis Kostantinos, 23-year-old Ousseynou Mbow of Senegal, and homegrown players Qatari Mame Ndour, 32, and 18-year-old Hamza Radi.
The top two teams in Pool A clash with the top two of Pool C that is composed of world No. 4 NY Harlem, No. 14 Lausanne of Switzerland, and Lithuania’s Utena in the knockout quarterfinals on Saturday.
Manila Chooks TM held its first on-court practice at the competition venue before heading back to the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel for a 30-minute weights training.