CJ PAYAWAL did not take long to make an impact with the Manila Chooks! squad as he powered them past Amstelveen of the Netherlands, 21-13, in the Fiba 3X3 Pro League Netherlands 2023 Winter Edition Stop 1 on Friday morning at the Amsterdam Velodrome.
The 6-foot-5 Payawal, a one-and-done standout for University of the East in the UAAP last year, dazzled with 14 points for Manila Chooks, while the country’s No. 1 3x3 player Mac Tallo chipped in five points. Dennis Santos also had two as the wards of head trainer Chico Lanete atoned for a 14-22 loss to world No. 15 Utrecht of the Netherlands in their opener.
More importantly, the triumph allowed Manila Chooks! to forge a quarterfinals duel with Poland’s world No. 23 Warsaw Lotto 3x3 on early Saturday at the same venue.
The Polish completed a two-game sweep of their Pool play campaign with wins over Paramaribo of the Netherlands (22-14) and Germany’s Hannover (16-14).
“Of course, we’re happy with the results. I’m happy and proud of them. They played their hearts out and we can’t disregard the fact that they played against Amstelveen because that’s easy,” Lanete said.
“They applied what we did at practice. The hustle is there. Their outside shots are falling,” he added.
Shrugging off the sudden absence of big man Brandon Ramirez, who suffered a swollen right knee injury in the game against Utrecht, Manila Chooks! unleashed a vicious 10-2 windup that broke an 11-all count behind Payawal and Tallo.
Payawal’s two-pointer made it 20-13 before his layup sealed the deal for Manila Chooks! in the Fiba level 8 tourney that also includes world No. 5 Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and world No. 21 Düsseldorf of Germany.
March 10, 2023
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