The new-look Manila Chooks TM, which now features Cebuanos Macmac Tallo and Zachy Huang, has been given clearance to compete in the 2021 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters on March 26 to 27.
Tallo is a former two-time Cesafi MVP who played briefly in the pros while Huang is a former Ateneo de Cebu standout who had a stellar career in the UAAP while suiting up for the University of Santo Tomas. Joining the Cebuano duo in the maximum level (level 11) tournament are veteran guard Chico Lanete and little-known Dennis Santos.
The team coached by Aldin Ayo was able to clear their RT-PCR tests last Tuesday and are now currently in home quarantine as they leave on March 20.
Though handling a new team, Ayo, a one-time NCAA and UAAP champion coach, is hoping that his system will work on the world stage.
"We are starting but I believe that we are starting on the right foot. We established a new culture and new approach. Hopefully, the players respond. For us coaches, we are doing our best also and we are grateful for the support that is being given by Chooks-to-Go," relayed Ayo.
Manila Chooks TM will have to go through the qualifying draw with host Doha and Austria's Graz before it can compete in the main draw.
Already seeded are top teams Liman of Serbia, Riga of Latvia, Ub of Serbia, NY Harlem of USA, Princeton of USA, Novi Sad of Serbia, Amsterdam Talent&Pro of the Netherlands, Piran of Slovenia, Šakiai Gulbelė of Lithuania, Edmonton of Canada, and Lusail of Qatar.
Unfazed is the team heading into the tough competition they are about to face.
Another roadblock though has been placed in front of Manila Chooks TM as the Inter-agency Task Force has released a memorandum saying that it will be limiting the travel into the Philippines of foreigners and returning overseas Filipinos from March 20 to April 19.
Chooks-to-Go president Mascariñas has assured that he and the league are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of the players.
"If everything goes well, Manila Chooks TM will be the first team to represent the country in an international competition. If that is not enough motivation for these boys, I don't know what is," said Mascariñas. (JNP)