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Bataan, Basilan to play in Haining Challenger

The players of the teams heading to upcoming FIBA 3x3 Challengers strike a pose in their send-off press conference on Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG--In a surprise development, not one but two teams will represent the Philippines in the FIBA 3x3 Haining Challenger.

With the help of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the participation of two clubs playing in the Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriots Cup for the said Challenger was assured as formally announced in a press conference at the Bar One of Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria on Thursday night.

The Bataan Risers and the Basilan Steel, to be known as Balanga Chooks and Isabela Chooks respectively, will participate in the Haining Challenger starting this Saturday in China.

And this despite only getting the invites just recently.

"We were only invited to the tournament with just one-week notice. But we need to join this tournament to continue to gather more points for the country," said Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 league owner Ronald MascariƱas.

Balanga will stick with their usual suspects, Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, Chris De Chavez, and Travis Franklin.

On the other hand, Isabela, who made a surprise by making the final of the second leg of the Patriots Cup on Sunday, will bring in Roosevelt Adams, Franky Johnson, and Marcus Hammonds as their holdovers.

Troy Rike, who is now playing for the Steel, has to sit out due to him being registered in the FIBA 3x3 club system as a member of the Pasig Grindhouse Kings or Pasig Chooks.

Gab Banal will take over Rike's spot.

Balanga is automatically seeded to the main tournament, being grouped in Pool A with top seed Liman and eighth Sosnovy Bor.

Balanga will face Liman at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sosnovy Bor at 4:15 p.m. on the same day.

Isabela, on the other hand, will undergo a qualifying pool with Mongolian Sukhbataar (9 a.m.) and Taikhar (10:40 a.m) waiting for the squad.

The winner of the qualifier will become part of Pool C, where Russian squads Gagarin and Moscow Inanomo await their new opponent.

The winner of the Haining Challenger will get a spot in the FIBA World Tour Montreal Masters.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno