CEBU (Philippines) - Highly ballyhooed Ub Huishan NE made a dazzling start to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters 2023 on September 23, clearly demonstrating their composure and championship aspirations.
Now, let's review the first day of the season's 10th Masters event, marking the FIBA 3x3 World Tour's second event this year in the basketball-loving Philippines.
Ub Huishan NE ruled Pool A action, sweeping both their assignments to finish 2-0 and advance to the Quarter-Finals on Day Two. It wasn't easy, though. The top seeds fell behind early against Wuxi but came back to win, 21-16, behind Dr. Strange's 9 points. Ub Huishan NE's second game was even more anxiety-inducing. Sansar gave Ub Huishan NE a legitimate scare, but their balanced attack helped them pull off the big win, 21-19. Three Ub players scored 6 points in that matchup.
Day One delivered an electrifying spectacle with a series of gravity-defying dunks, showcasing the incredible athleticism of both Mike Harry from Lubao and Jan Driessen from Amsterdam. These rim-rockers left the audience in awe, setting the tone for an unforgettable event.
Mike Harry, in particular, wasted no time as he opened the Cebu Masters with a thunderous jam in the very first game of the day against Taichung. He followed that up with more slamma jammas against Auckland and Miami.
Not to be outdone Jan Driessen put Luis Cuascut on a poster with an emphatic two-handed hammer as Amsterdam defeated San Juan.
SLICING & DICING
Fans at the SM Seaside City also witnessed some mesmerizing moments on the court as players sliced and diced their way to scoring opportunities, leaving defenders in their wake. Check out Worthy De Jong's slick drives, Mac Tallo's jaw-dropping stepback against Vienna, and Adrian Ocasio's clutch moves against Paris. These players embodied pure basketball artistry in action!
THE HOME TEAM
His team might be called Manila Chooks, but Mac Tallo, who's Cebu-born-and-raised, certainly rose to the occasion. Their Quarter-Finals hopes hung in the balance after losing to Vienna earlier on Day One. They had to win their next game against higher-seeded Futian. Tallo, however, would not disappoint his fellow Cebuanos who showed up to watch him live, scoring 10 points, including the final 2-point shot that enabled Manila Chooks to stay alive.
It was buckets galore throughout Day One, with Miami's Jimmer Fredette and Amsterdam's Worthy De Jong showing everyone that we weren't worthy.
True to his moniker as "Himmy Buckets," Fredette repeatedly hit one big basket after another Miami clinched their Quarter-Finals berths with wins over Lubao MCFASolver and Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy.
De Jong, meanwhile, was all swag all day, and no move embodied that more than his game-winning lookaway two-point finisher against Paris in Pool B play, 21-18. De Jong finished with 12 points in that pivotal contest.
Ub Huishan NE (SRB) vs Manila Chooks(PHI)
Miami (USA) vs San Juan (PUR)
Amsterdam (NED) vs Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL)
Vienna (AUT) vs Wuxi (CHN)
*Worthy de Jong's 12 points was the high of the day. Not surprisingly, he was Day One's top scorer with 22 points. He can clearly back all that swagger up.
*Doctor Strange Strahinja Stojacic wielded his magic. He tallied the most key assists with 7 for Day One as he also finished with the top player value (23.2).
*Jimmer Fredette and Miami look like dark horses to finish on top after leading all teams on Day one with the most points scored (22) and best shooting value (19).