|Manila Chooks is heading to Montreal. Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas|
MANILA--Manila Chooks TM is set to leave the country on Wednesday as they head to Canada for the 2021 FIBA 3x3 Montreal Masters.
Ready for liftoff is the quintet of Mark Yee, Mac Tallo, Zachary Huang, Dennis Santos, and alternate player Chico Lanete as the entire delegation has tested negative in their RT-PCR tests.
The team will leave Manila at 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday and will arrive in Tokyo, Japan at 8:00 p.m. After an almost two-hour layover, the team will depart for Vancouver at 9:55 p.m.
Eight hours and 55 minutes will be the flight from Tokyo to Vancouver. Once they arrive in Vancouver at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday, the team will hop on another plane, this time for Montreal.
Once the team arrives in Montreal, another round of testing will take place while the team will be isolated at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The team will be allowed to train at the half-court of Montreal once cleared.
Excited is Mark Yee for his first FIBA 3x3 international pro circuit event, saying that he never expected to have this opportunity at his age.
“Sobrang blessed. Hindi naman natin maitatago na may edad na tayo para maimbitahan tayo sa ganito kalaking tournament," expressed the 39-year-old sweet-shooting bruiser.
"Talagang, kumbaga, lagi ko lang iniisip na sobrang blessed talaga. Sa pagkakataon na ito, hindi ko naisip na mare-represent ko pa ‘yung bansa natin sa FIBA sa tanda ko na ito," he continued.
Tough though will be the opposition of Manila Chooks TM come the max level tournament that will garner precious points for the country in its quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Manila Chooks TM will be slotted with Pool D along with World No. 8 Antwerp of Belgium and No. 10 Edmonton of Canada. Their game against Antwerp will be on Sept. 5 at 12:45 a.m. (Manila time) while Manila versus Edmonton is scheduled at 6:50 a.m. on the same day.
Composing Antwerp is 6-foot-5 Nick Celes (World No. 23), Thibaut Vervoort (No. 28), 6-foot-6 Thierry Marien (No. 43), and 6-foot-6 Rafael Bogaerts (No. 72).
The last time a Filipino team faced Antwerp was back in the 2019 FIBA 3x3 Moscow Challenger that saw them down Pasig Chooks, 21-14.
Headlining Edmonton is World No. 32 Steve Sir. He will be joined by Alex Johnson, Dutch import Ross Bekkering, and the debuting Adika Peter-McNeilly.
The top two teams in Pool D will advance to the crossover playoffs on September 6 and will face either World No. 4 Ub of Serbia, Switzerland’s Lausanne, or home team Old Montreal.
"Gustong-gusto naming bumawi kasi nabitin kami noong Doha Masters," said Lanete. "Every win and every point counts for us para makakuha tayo ng points para sa Olympics."
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