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Manila Chooks puts Olympic bid in motion

CEBU CITY -— Manila Chooks braces for a tough challenge from 13 other teams when the 2023 Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters kicks off at the SM Seaside City Cebu.

The quartet of Mac Tallo, Marcus Hammonds, Marquez Letcher-Ellis and Tosh Sesay will be looking to make a deep run in the tournament to earn qualifying points for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Chooks Manila is in Pool C and will be playing against Vienna of Austria at 4:20 p.m. before taking on China’s Futian at 6:20 p.m.

Only the top two teams per pool will advance to the quarterfinal on Sunday.

Manila Chooks head coach Chico Lanete said having to play a couple of tuneup games with Miami, bannered by former National Basketball Association cager Jimmer Fredette, gave them confidence in facing against taller and stronger opponents.

“Miami actually invited us for the tuneup games and it’s a big opportunity for us to play against this team because we’re able to absorb their playstyle,” Lanete said.

“I’m happy that even if we lost, it was just a few points so we told the team we improved from last year. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring the same energy in the games.”

Lanete is also optimistic as his team will be able to play well with one another in the tournament.

“Their chemistry has improved. We still have things to work on as a team but those are just minor adjustments for us,” Lanete said.

Ub Huishan of Serbia will be entering as a heavy favorite, winning five out of seven legs of the tournament.

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