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Tallo and co. ready to defend fort

Mac Tallo shines for Cebu Chooks.

MANDAUE City—Host teams Cebu and Manila start their campaign in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Chooks-to-Go 3X3 World Tour Cebu Masters 2022 on Saturday at the SM Seaside here in Cebu.

Hometown boy Mac Tallo of Cebu Chooks and his teammates are ready for the challenge of going up against world No. 3 rank Antwerp of Belgium in the eliminations that start at 3 p.m.

“I don’t want to let my fellow Cebuano down particularly the kids we’ve met at the Sisters of Mary School Girls and Boys town,” the 28-year-old Tallo, who hails from Sambag Dos in Cebu City, told reporters before practice Friday.

But Antwerp, a semifinalist at last year’s Tokyo Olympics—are parading Olympic veterans Thibaut Vervoort and Nick Celis together with Bryan de Valck and Dennis Donkor against the Filipinos.

The Filipinos, ranked No. 26 in the world, are hoping the home crowd would add to their readiness for the competition.

“I am ready and I will give my best even if I suffer cramps tomorrow,” Tallo, ranked No. 83 in the world, said.

“We will be fighting for every Filipino,” Tallo’s teammate, Brandon Ramirez, said.

Tallo and Ramirez will be joined by Zachary Huang and Mike Harry Nzeusseu at Cebu Chooks, which faces Omaha at 7 p.m. in Pool A.

Manila Chooks—bannered by Arnold Dave Ando, Nigerian Henry Iloka, Dennis Santos and playing coach Chico Lanete—will start at 1 p.m. against India’s Ludhiana in the Qualifying Draw A.

Manila battles Doha in its second qualifying draw match.

Cebu, also coached by Lanete, goes for an upset of the Belgian team and Doha for a seat in the quarterfinals.

If Manila beats Ludhiana and Doha in the qualifying draw, the team will meet Ulaanbaatar of MMC Energy Mongolia in a Pool D main draw at 4:25 p.m.

Chooks-to-Go and Bounty Agro Ventures President Ronald Mascariñas, meanwhile, reiterated his gratitude to Cebu.

“I’m really glad that we brought FIBA 3X3 in Cebu—a big basketball loving province—despite the tough competition ahead,” Mascariñas said. “If we win one or two games, that’s already a great accomplishments. This is a top level competition.”

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