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Manila North enters 3x3 quarters with win against Doha

Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

ABU DHABI--Manila North took the last quarterfinal berth in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final after edging Doha, 16-14, on Friday (Philippine Time).

The Philippine team held on despite a sloppy finish to the game and joined fellow Pool D member Kranj to the knockout stages, which begins late Friday night.

Manila North started the game on a 5-0 run and kept Doha at bay for most of the match.

But the Qatari side stayed within striking distance, even coming to within one, 14-15, with 1:49 left.

Troy Rosario quickly put the lead back to two with 1:43 remaining through a jump hook.

Dominic James had a chance to tie the game, but he missed a wide-open deuce with 1:30 left.

Needing to score 18 to secure the first spot in Pool D, Manila North had a chance to move closer to the said goal, but Vic Manuel missed a layup off a spin move.

The team, however, got another sigh of relief as former PBA import Sammy Monroe misfired a quick deuce.

Karl Dehesa, who kept his cool this time, failed to drain a long tom, and Rosario's follow-up hit the side of the board.

James again missed a wide-open two-pointer, but his team got the ball back after Manuel was charged with an offensive foul with 40.5 seconds remaining.

Tanguy Ngombo, however, lost the ball after getting double-teamed, giving the ball back to Manila North.

Doha had another chance as Calvin Abueva quickly turned the ball over, but Dehesa stopped Monroe's alley-oop pass to Yaseem Musa and James stepped out of bounds later in the play.

Manuel turned the ball over after getting trapped in a quick double-team, giving Doha another crack at the basket. Monroe, however, muffed a tough deuce, and Abueva took the rebound.

Dehesa then had his own attempt from deep off the mark, but Abueva secured the offensive board only to lose possession, giving Doha a chance to force golden goal with 2.5 seconds left.

Monroe, who struggled from long range late in the game, misfired the buzzer-beating deuce, eventually seeing his team getting eliminated by virtue of the average points rule.

Manila North, Doha, and Kranj finished their Pool D campaigns at 1-1, but Kranj, who averaged 17, and Manila North, who normed 16.5, booked their places in the quarterfinals, leaving Doha, who only averaged 15 a game, out of the equation.

Manila North set up a Manila Masters final rematch with Novi Sad in the quarterfinals.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno