Serbian team beats Futian of China to win Manila Masters

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THE top-seeded Ub Huishan of Serbia lived up to their billing as they captured the championship in the Fiba 3x3 Manila Masters with a 21-17 win over Futian of China on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.

Ub Huishan zoomed off to a 7-3 lead, but Futian kept fighting and pulled to within one, 16-15, after a two-pointer by Dimeo van der Horst. However, the world’s best 3x3 player Strahinja Stojacic and sharpshooter Marko Brankovic proved too good down the stretch as Ub came away with the victory—their 10th in a row.

Stojacic finished with six points to capture his second straight MVP after also winning top honors in Utsunomiya, Japan. Brankovic led Ub Huishan with eight points.

In the individual contests, Riga’s Miroslav Pasajlic won the Maurice Lacroix Shoot-Out Contest, while Filipino “Air” David Carlos thrilled the home fans to claim the Chooks Dunk Contest.

Meanwhile, the Manila Chooks bowed out of the competition with a 22-18 loss to Utsunomiya BREX EXE in Pool A action. Dennis Santos rallied the lone Filipino contingent in the Level 10 FIBA 3x3 event back from an early 5-9 deficit against the eighth placer in the Utsunomiya Masters opener last April.

The Philippine No. 3 3x3 player strung together six straight points, which included a two-pointer and an and-one conversion which knotted the score at 11-all. Top Philippine 3x3 player Mac Tallo and Sierra Leonean big man Tosh Sesay then gave Manila Chooks a 14-12 advantage with under six minutes to play.

However, foul trouble eventually doomed the squad’s hopes of making the quarterfinals in Day 2, as “Japanese Terrence Romeo” Yosuke Saito sank free throws, which gave his team an 18-15 lead.

“Wala akong masabi sa mga players. ‘Yung effort, ‘yung dedication, binigay nila lahat. Hindi lang kami nakapag-adjust sa fouls, so sayang,” head trainer Chico Lanete remarked after the close loss.

(I have nothing to say against the players. The effort, the dedication, they gave it their all. It’s a pity we weren’t able to adjust to the fouls.)

“We just have to continue what we have started and master our game plan. We should learn from this lesson and avoid unnecessary fouling. I think you all saw how the players gave it their all.”

Tallo, meanwhile, acknowledged that Manila Chooks will need to build from its stinging defeats and improve as a cohesive unit.

“The effort was there. We tried to win the second game. Binuhos namin lahat, wala kaming tinirang energy, kasi ginusto naming makapag-Day 2 (We gave it our all, we didn’t have energy left, because we wanted to make it to Day 2). I think ang kulang na lang sa amin is ‘yung (what we lack is) chemistry,” Tallo said.

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