Revengeful Pasig Chooks, Balanga to go all out in Moscow Challenger
MANILA, Philippines—Pasig Chooks hopes to replace a forgettable campaign with a memorable one when it plunges back into action in the Fiba 3×3 Tinkoff Moscow Challenger on June 7-8 in Russia.
The team is coming off a winless campaign in the 2019 Kunshan Challenger last month and there’s only one way to put that painful stint behind.
“We definitely wanna make up for that,” said Joshua Munzon, the 89th-ranked player in the world, during Pasig and Balanga Chooks’ sendoff on Tuesday at Bar One.
“Our expectations is to go out there and give everything we have. We can’t get out there and lose focus. We need to stay together as a team. We have to have each other’s backs,” he added.
The 6-foot-3 Munzon will team up with Serbian reinforcement Nikola Pavlovic and Taylor Statham anew with former PBA veteran Dylan Ababou completing the cast.
Pasig is slotted in Group Round 2-B with world No. 3 Riga Ghetto of Latvia and Belgium’s Antwerp.
Balanga Chooks, which was invited to the tournament as a wildcard, has a tougher road ahead as it still needs to go through a qualifier and top its group that features Ukraine’s Odessa Basket and Russia’s Moscow Inanomo to advance to the pool stages against Russia’s Gagarin and Poland’s Gdańsk Energa 3×3.
Leading the way for Balanga is prolific forward Travis Franklin, who is joining Alvin Pasaol and Karl Dehesa for another run. Sharpshooting Chris Dechavez is the team’s fourth member.
“Two weeks ago, we sent Pasig Chooks to compete in Kunshan. That was the worst tournament we ever participated in after the team left Kunshan without a single win,” said Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league owner Ronald Mascariñas. “It’s behind us now. What’s important is we learned a lot from the Kunshan tournament.”
“I can guarantee that our players are mentally and physically ready for this tournament.”
Statham kept it short and sweet when asked about his expectations ahead of the Moscow Challenger.
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