KIEFER Ravena shone the brightest and naturalized player prospect Isaiah Austin proved to be a good fit as Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas outlasted BC Astana, 73-65, in their Fiba Asia Champions Cup opener at the Chenzhou Sports Center in China on Friday.
Ravena torched the Kazakhstan team with 22 points, including 11 in the pivotal third period to recover from a sluggish start, to go with three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Austin gave the Philippines a dominant paint presence with an all-around outing of 17 points, 18 rebounds, and six blocks.
Kazahstan made things interesting after Justin Carter and Alexander Zhigulin unloaded back-to-back three-pointers to move to within two, 63-65, with 3:44 remaining.
That's when Chooks' defense showed its teeth, forcing Carter to miss two shots from beyond the arc in the final minute while Ravena, Austin, and LA Revilla brought the team home with timely baskets.
Dmitri Gavrilov led Kazakhstan with 11 points but was a non-factor in the crucial stretch. Anthony Clemmons and Carter had 10 points each.
Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas will face Palestine team Sarreyet Ramallah on Saturday, 4:45 p.m.
Chooks To Go (73) - Ravena 22, Austin 17, Manuel 10, Jeric Teng 7, Jose 6, Revilla 5, Cruz 2, Torres 2, Jeron Teng 1, Tamsi 1, Vosotros 0.
BC Astana (65)- Gavrilov 11, Clemmons 10, Carter 10, Murzagaliyev 8, Zhigulin 8, Degtyarev, Yergali 6, Marchuk 2, Kolesnikov 2, Chsherbak 0.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 35-43, 57-55, 73-65