PASIG Chooks and Balanga Chooks shoot for the stars in the Doha Masters of the 2019 Fiba 3x3 World Tour on Thursday at Katara Amphitheatre in Qatar.
Filipinos Joshua Munzon and Taylor Statham play with former Novi Sad campaigner Nikola Pavlovic of Serbia and Fiba 3x3 World Cup bronze medalist Angelo Tsagarakis of France as they fly the colors for the President's Cup champion Pasig Chooks.
Balanga Chooks, on the other hand, will lean on Alvin Pasaol and Santi Santillan, World Tour veteran Karl Dehesa and American reinforcement Travis Franklin.
Balanga Chooks plays in Pool C against world no. 3 Riga Ghetto of Latvia at 9:50 p.m. (Manila time) before facing off against world no. 15 Moscow Inanomo of Russia at 11:35 p.m.
Pasig Chooks is slotted in Pool A, playing host Katara of Qatar at 10:50 p.m. and top 3x3 team Liman of Serbia at 12:25 a.m. on Friday.
Pool B is made up of reigning World Tour champion Novi Sad of Serbia, Asia Pacific Super Quest kings Tokyo Dime of Japan, and home side Doha. Pool D is composed of Slovenia's Piran and Ljubljana, and Canada's Mount-Royal University of McGill.
Only the top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout playoffs set on Friday.
Both Filipino teams undoubtedly face an uphill battle, but for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 commissioner Eric Altamirano, the two squads are more than ready to prove that they belong in the highest 3x3 circuit in the world.
"Given the short time of preparation, I was surprised with how intense and how focused the players are. They were so intense that there was a lot of frustrations shown and some flare-ups. We expected that because they want to win and they really want to have a good representation for the country in the World Tour," he said.
It will be the first time the Philippines will participate in the Fiba 3x3 World Tour since 2015, when Manila North, bannered by Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Troy Rosario and Dehesa, copped the silver medal in the Manila Masters and made it to the World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi, where it wound up at sixth place.