By REYNALD MAGALLON
Cebu Chooks fell short in its opening game against the top-seeded squad UB Huishan from Serbia, 21-17, in the Pool A action of the Chooks-To-Go 3×3 Manila Masters yesterday at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay.
The Filipino bets bannered by PH top player Mac Tallo along with Zac Huang, Brandon Ramirez and Harry Nzeusseu held their ground against the top 3×3 players but lost steam in the final minutes as Dejan Majstrovic and Marko Brankovic took over for the Serbian squad.
UB was quick to assert its presence inside the paint in the early going as they raced to a 7-4 lead. The Filipinos though battled back and behind the efforts of Nzeusseu and back-to-back deuce from Tallo to even take a 14-12 advantage.
Majstrovic, more known as ‘the Maestro’ in the 3×3 circuit, scored on a layup before Brankovic nailed two charities to shove the lead back to UB.
Tallo answered with a two-pointer but the Utsonomiya Masters titlists proved to be the steadier team down the stretch as the one-two punch of Brankovic and Majstrovic put on the finishing touches.
Cebu Chooks plays Zavkhan MMC Energy from Mongolia and a win can still propel them to the next round of the competition.