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Chooks-to-Go downs Astana at start of FIBA Asia Champions Cup stint

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The club may be a last-minute entry to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

But Chooks-to-Go showed it wants to be first in the race to the championship of the said club competition.

The Philippine side mainly composed of the Gilas Cadets stunned Kazakhstan's BC Astana, 73-65, in the main game of Day 1 of the said tournament at the Chenzhou Sports Center in Chenzhou, China on Friday night.

Chooks-to-Go turned up the heat defensively in the second half as clutch baskets helped the team withstand Astana.

Chooks-to-Go started the game on a 7-0 run before holding off Astana the rest of the first quarter for a 21-19 lead.

However, Astana sizzled in the second period, outscoring Chooks-to-Go, 24-14, to lead, 43-35, at the half.

Chooks-to-Go then went to work in the last 20 minutes at the stopping end, limiting Astana to only 12 points in the third quarter--and scoring 22 in the process--and only 10 in the payoff period.

However, an LA Revilla layup off a steal and a short jumper from Isaiah Austin were what Chooks-to-Go needed at crunch time to break away for good.

Kiefer Ravena led Chooks-to-Go with 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Austin, an honorary draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft who now plays for Chinese Basketball Association side Guangxi, made a good account for himself in his debut, tallying 17 markers, 18 caroms, one assist, one steal, and more importantly six blocks.

Dmitriy Gavrilov led Astana with 11 markers in a game where American reinforcements Anthony Clemmons and Justin Carter struggled.

Box Scores:

Chooks-to-Go 73-Ravena 22, Austin 17, Manuel 10, Jeric Teng 7, Jose 6, Revilla 5, Cruz 2, Torres 2, Tamsi 1, Jeron Teng 1, Vosotros 0

Astana 65-Gavrilov 11, Carter 10, Clemmons 10, Murzagaliyev 8, Zhigulin 8, Degtyarev 8, Yergali 6, Marchuk 2, Kolesnikov 2, Chsherbak 0

Quarterscores: 21-19, 35-43, 57-55, 73-65

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno