DOHA, QATAR – The Cinderella run of the Philippine teams at the 2019 FIBA 3X3 World Tour Masters is over after Pasig Chooks and Balanga Chooks bowed out in the knockout quarterfinals Friday at the Katara Amphitheatre. First to fall was Pasig to third seed and eventual champion Riga Ghetto of Latvia, 21-15, followed by Balanga at the hands of top seed Liman of Serbia, 21-9.
Pasig was saddled with foul trouble and it tolled heavily on their defenses as the Latvians scored four unanswered points to break the game’s last deadlock and lead, 17-13. Joshua Munzon would reply with a two-pointer but that was the last hurrah as the Latvians went on another 4-0 run to abbreviate the game.
Balanga allowed the Serbians to go on a 7-0 run to break the game wide apart, 8-3. Karl Dehesa and Travis Franklin would put Balanga back to contention, 7-9, but Serbia was too much by going on an 11-2 run to advance to the semifinals.
Ironically, both European squads were among the Filipinos’ victims in Thursday’s preliminaries. Balanga clipped Riga Ghetto, 19-17, while Pasig created the biggest upset of the tournament thus far over Liman, 21-14.
In the semifinals, Riga Ghetto eliminated Piran of Slovenia, 21-14, while Liman ousted fellow Serbian squad Novi Sad, 20-17. The Latvians then nipped Liman in the finale, 15-14, for the top prize of USD 30,000.00 (PHP 1,560,000.00).
Despite the loss, Pasig ended up in Fifth Place and pocketed USD 5,000.00 (PHP 260,000.00). Bataan wound up in Sixth and together with Pasig and 10 other teams picked up valuable ranking points that could earn them a spot in the World Tour season Finals this November in Utsonomiya, Japan.
Meanwhile, it really was a poor day for the Filipinos as David Carlos lost out in the Slam Dunk Contest to Vadim Poddubchenko of Ukraine. His two balls and a ladder final dunk earned only a 29 from the judges as the Ukrainian capped his performance with a third perfect 30-point under both legs slam.