Ub captures 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters crown

·3 min read

Ub Huishan NE defeated Liman Huishan NE, 20-17, to reign over the 2022 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters on Sunday night at Ayala Malls Manila Bay.

Marko Brankovic and Dejan Majstorovic were unstoppable as they powered the world’s top-ranked 3x3 team to another World Tour title after winning the Utsunomiya Opener in Japan a couple of weeks ago.

Brankovic top-scored with nine points and five rebounds, while Majstorovic notched eight markers as the two connived in a telling 8-1 run for a 15-8 lead with 2:52 to go that eventually led to the crew winning the cash prize of $40,000.

World no. 1 Strahinja Stojacic made his presence felt as well with three points, including the booming two-pointer with 45.4 seconds left that doused cold water to the last-ditch attempt by their fellow Serbians to catch up.

Majstorovic, 34, was later on crowned as the Manila Masters' Most Valuable Player, adding yet another valuable piece to his stacked collection.

“It feels amazing,” said the man nicknamed the “Maestro,” a three-time 3x3 World Cup gold medalist. “We want to prove that we are the best team in the world. And we did it. We need to stay calm, work hard, and keep playing the same way.”

Ub finished the tournament with a perfect record. It went 2-0 in the pool stage before taking down Warsaw, Melbourne, and then, Liman for the title.

Liman, on the other hand, was led by the eight points and four rebounds of Stefan Kojic. Mihailo Vasic had five, as Aleksandar Ratkov added four.

As tough as the loss was, the third-ranked team in the world still improved its finish from the Utsunomiya tilt, where it only ended up at fifth. Liman also brought home $ 30,000.

Meanwhile, the two teams from the Philippines fell out of contention in the quarterfinal round.

Manila ran out of gas and yielded a 16-21 decision to Sansar MMC Energy, while Cebu got outclassed by 3 Liman Huishan NE, 21-11.

Manila had the inside track of reaching the semifinals, but failed to protect a four-point lead as the Mongolians hit their stride from beyond the arc.

Anand Ariunbold nailed back-to-back two-pointers to power a 7-0 run, and the game turned around in their favor which led to the hosts' demise.

Ariunbold finished with nine points. Enkhbaatar Onolbaatar had six points, as Gansukh Avarzed and Batzolboo Borgil combined for six as well.

Henry Iloka top-scored for Manila with seven points and seven rebounds. Chico Lanete made four, as Ken Holmqvist added three in the loss.

“Sayang 'yung chances namin, sayang,” lamented Lanete, who towed Manila to the quarters last night against Zaisan MMC Energy, “Pero masaya kami na na-experience namin ito at mahaba pa naman ang season. Madami pa kaming iimprove.”

But while Manila put up a fight, the same could not be said with Cebu, which was totally outplayed by one of the best 3x3 teams in the world.

Mac Tallo and Zach Huang still tried to get their side back late in the match, but it was a wall too insurmountable. The two finished with four points each.

“Kulang pa kami sa experience, kulang pa kami sa games. Magandang learning experience sa amin ito. Pinapangako namin na magiimprove pa kami at gagaling pa kami,” said Tallo, the country's top-ranked 3x3 player.

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