Isabela Chooks enters main draw of Haining Challenger after completing sweep of qualifiers

Gab Banal celebrates with Roosevelt Adams after Isabela Chooks qualifies for the main tournament of the FIBA 3x3 Haining Challenger. Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas
By Dugout Philippines

ZHEJIANG--Gab Banal put up an inspirational performance, leading Isabela Chooks to an 18-15 triumph over Taikhar, 18-15, to advance to the main draw of the 2019 Hongxiang Holdings Haining, Saturday morning.

With this win and an earlier 21-11 (2:26) victory over Sukhbaatar, Isabela City advances to Pool C.

They will take on world no. 8 Gagarin (3:20 pm) and no. 21 Moscow Inanomo (5:05 pm) with the top two teams in the group advancing to the playoffs on Sunday.

And it was all made possible by Banal, who has yet to get full rest since Thursday.

"Basta para sa bayan, laban lang," said Isabela's guest player Banal, who had a game in Bacoor last Thursday before figuring in an early morning flight to China Friday.

The team immediately held practice in the evening and had to arrive at the Haining court at 6:00 am -- three hours before tip-off.

Banal, who last played competitive 3x3 basketball back in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup for the Bacoor Strikers, had nine points in the game.

He led Isabela's City's breakaway, scoring five straight points in a 7-0 spurt that turned a tied game into a huge lead 14-7 lead for the Philippine-based club team with 3:44 left.

The trio of Enkhbaatar Onolbaatar, Otgonjargal Tsogt, and Gansukh Avarzed tried to will their squad back but big buckets from Marcus Hammonds sealed off any Taikhar comeback attempt.

Hammonds added six points while Roosevelt Adams had three markers for the three-man Isabela City squad.

Onolbaatar was the high point man for the Mongolians with seven markers.

The Scores:

Isabela City 18 - Banal 9, Hammonds 6, Adams 3.

Taikhar 15 - Onolbaatar 7, Tsogt 5, Avarzed 3, Battuvshin 0.

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