MANILA Chooks TM left the country Sunday night confident of pulling off surprises in the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Doha Masters set to open on Friday.
Team captain Alvin Pasaol, who during last year’s edition of the tournament steered Balanga to the quarterfinals, believes that the squad, composed of the national 3×3 pool, is more matured now.
“Born-ready kami. We’re confident naman eh dahil doon sa pinakita namin doon sa Calambubble sobrang laki ng inimprove ng team namin lalo na sa tiyaga,” said Pasaol, referring to the recently-concluded Chooks-to-Go 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM.
Together with Joshua Munzon, Troy Rike and Santi Santillan, the five-legged competition in Calamba, Laguna two weeks ago was the perfect training ground for the tough international tournament.
“Hindi kami naiinip or nasisiraan man ng kumpyansa dahil malakas ang kalaban. Yun yung pinakamaganda sa amin ngayon kasi yun nga parang kalmado lang, hindi masyadong nagpapanic, yun yung good side doon,” said Pasaol.
FIBA 3×3 has yet to release the groupings for this tournament that has $40,000 waiting for the champion team.
Defending champion Liman of Serbia and last year’s runner-up Riga of Latvia heads the stacked cast in the two-day competition.
NY Harlem and Princeton of United States, Lausanne of Switzerland, Jeddah and Riyadh of Saudi Arabia, Kamakura and Yoyogi of Japan, Bielefeld of Germany, Utana of Lithuania, UB of Serbia and home team Lusail completes the cast.
The quartet had encountered nerve-wracking moments before heading to Qatar, as the visas of the Pasaol and company only arrived six hours before lift-off.
“The spirit of bayanihan was truly alive,” said Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas.
“FIBA 3X3’s senior manager Ignacio Soriano and 3×3 Events and Partners Associate Valentina Mattioli — both of whom are in Spain — and the Qatar ministry moved heaven and earth just to get the visas for the players,” he added.
All participants in the level 10-ranked 3×3 tournament must have settled down in Doha yesterday. The players will be given a mandatory room quarantine in their hotels and will only be allowed to go out once their PCR test results have came out.