What the Manila Chooks TM lack in size, they’ll be looking to make up for in feistiness as they battle bigger opponents in the qualifying draw of the 2021 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters in Doha on Friday.
Composed of Cebuano stalwarts Macmac Tallo and Zachy Huang together with former pro guard Chico Lañete and little-known Dennis Santos, Manila Chooks TM start their campaign with a match against Austria's Graz at 7:30 PM before facing Qatar's Doha at 8:05 PM.
The Philippine-side will be at a disadvantage size-wise as Graz has 6-foot-9 Fabricio Vay and 6-foot-7 Filip Krämer while Qatar will field 6-foot-7 Abdelrahman Yehia Abdelhaleem and 6-foot-10 Souley Ndour.
However, the players are confident that the scheme of head coach Aldin Ayo—more popularly known as “mayhem”—will work in the three-a-side game.
"We get really physical in practice and it has helped make our bodies stronger and more used to the physicality,” said Santos, the tallest on the team at 6-foot-5.
"Going back sa UST days ko, the schemes of Coach Aldin have been the same. It’s the same approach as when we made the finals of UAAP Season 82,” said Huang, a former standout of the Ateneo de Cebu and the University of Santo Tomas.
Only one team from the qualifying draw will advance to the tournament proper. Waiting for the survivor are US teams NY Harlem and Princeton, both top-five teams in the world.
Lañete is confident that their skills can negate the tall odds stacked in front of them.
"We may be small but we’ll be showing them our speed and perimeter shooting. That’s our advantage,” said the cagey guard. (JNP)