MANILA Chooks TM may have failed to enter the main draw, but they sure left their mark in the 2021 Fiba 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters after they beat the hometown team Doha, 21-20, in thrilling fashion on Friday, March 25, 2021, at the Al Gharafa Sports Complex.
Veteran guard Chico Lañete buried the game-winning jumper from the corner to send the Filipinos home with a 1-1 (win-loss) record. They opened their campaign in the qualifying draw with a 17-22 loss to Graz. The team from Austria eventually grabbed the lone ticket to the main draw after they routed Doha, 21-5, to finish the qualifiers with an unblemished 2-0 card.
The game of the day, though, clearly belonged to Manila Chooks TM which fell behind early but got back in the ballgame, thanks to a barrage of two-pointers from Cebuano Mac Tallo, Dennis Santos, Lañete and the hardnosed play of Zachy Huang.
In the race to two overtime, Doha had the advantage after a basket by Qatar's no. 14-ranked player Babacar Dieng. Lanete's initial attempt from downtown was initially blocked by 6-foot-3 Faisal Abuissa. The former 5-on-5 vet, who is the oldest player in the 14-team meet at 41, was able to recover, faking out Abuissa before knocking down the game-winning basket.
It was the first win of any Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas team in Doha since 2019.
Manila Chooks fell behind, 8-2, early before Santos and Tallo rallied the team back with the latter eventually forcing overtime with a lay-in with 5.4 seconds left.
Santos, an unheralded 6-foot-5 stretch forward, had nine points while Lanete and Tallo added six and four markers, respectively.
Six-foot-7 Abdelrahman Yehia had nine points for Doha while 6-foot-10 Souley Ndour chipped in six.