WITH its former players deciding to take their basketball journeys to a new direction, Manila Chooks TM has turned to new faces to banner its 3×3 campaign this season, beginning with the 3×3 World Tour in Doha, Qatar.
Chico Lanete, Mac Tallo, Zachy Huang, and Dennis Santos now compose the revamped Manila Chooks TM squad, taking the place of the likes of Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, who have taken their talents to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Coaching the new team is champion National Collegiate Athletic Association and University Athletic Association of the Philippines coach Aldin Ayo.
First for Manila Chooks TM in 2021 is the 3×3 World Tour happening from March 26 to 27.
Mr. Ayo said that since the team is a new one, they are expecting some early bumps but something they are willing to deal with and build on.
“We are starting, but I believe that we are starting on the right foot. We are establishing a new culture and new approach. Hopefully, the players respond to that,” said Mr. Ayo in a statement of what they are trying to accomplish.
Mr. Lanete, 41, is the veteran among the players. He played in the PBA for more than a decade and is a three-time league champion.
He debuted in 3×3 play just last year and instantly impressed in the local circuit.
Mr. Tallo also had PBA experience while 6-foot-4 Huang is a former player of Mr. Ayo with the University Santo Tomas Growling Tigers. Mr. Santos, for his part, is a 6-foot-5 stretch big.
In the World Tour, Manila Chooks TM will have to go through the qualifying draw with host Doha and Austria’s Graz before it can make it to 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, Sakiai Gulbele of Lithuania, Edmonton of Canada, and Lusail of Qatar.
Prior to flying to Doha, however, the team must first get clearance from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, especially in light of heightened restrictions brought about by the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the country. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo