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2 PH teams to play in FIBA 3×3 Haining Challenger

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MANILA — Two clubs will represent the Philippines in the FIBA 3×3 Haining Challenger this weekend in China.

As formally announced in a send-off press conference at the Bar One of Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Pasig City on Thursday night, the Bataan Risers, to be known in the tournament as the Balanga Chooks, and the Basilan Steel, to be renamed as the Isabela Chooks, will take part in the tournament, a qualifier for the FIBA World Tour Montreal Masters.

Balanga was seeded to the main tourney, being grouped with powerhouse Liman and Sosnovy Bor in Pool A.

Meanwhile, Isabela, which is making waves in the ongoing Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Patriots Cup, will be playing in a qualifying pool with Mongolian sides Sukhbataar and Taikhar with the top finisher completing Pool C, which already has Russian teams Gagarin and Moscow Inanomo in it.

Despite the late notice, Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3×3 owner Ronald Mascariñas did not hesitate to take the invites with the help of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas as the Philippines’ bid for a spot in the inaugural Summer Olympic 3×3 event in Tokyo next year continues.

“We were only invited to the tournament with just (a) one-week notice. But we need to join this tournament to continue to gather more points for the country,” Mascariñas said.

Also given a formal send-off on Thursday night was the Pasig Grindhouse Kings, who will play the following weekend in the Poitiers Challenger in France, a qualifying tournament for the Lausanne Masters.