The two best 3×3 players in the world Strahinja Stojacic and Dejan Majstrovic heaved praises to Filipino dribblers especially PH’s No.1 player Mac Tallo in the recent Chooks-To-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters held at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay in Paranaque City.
Stojacic and Majstrovic, the world’s rank No. 1 and 2 3×3 players, respectively, were actually impressed with Cebu Chooks which gave their team, the eventual champions Ub Huishan a huge scare during their group stage matchup.
“Cebu team, they’re really good. We played with them (in practice) and it was a tie result. We beat them once, they beat us once,” said Majstrovic whose team defeated the Filipinos 21-17 in the group stage.
“Tallo, he’s an amazing offensive player. He scored five twos against us. I think if they give themselves space to be better every day, if they keep working hard, they can be a good team in the World Tour” the 6-foot-7 forward added.
Cebu however fell short of making it to the finals in the second day of the event after bowing to another Serbian team Liman Huishan in the quarterfinals, 21-11.
Although they acknowledge the talent and potential of the Filipino players in the halfcourt game, Stojacic said the Filipinos still have a lot to work on with their game – something that according to him, can only be achieved if the players fully dedicate their time to the 3×3 basketball.
“They are so talented and they play good basketball. But they’re not focused on 3×3. They play five-on-five. And they’re different. I talked to Tallo and he said, maybe one day, he’ll focus on just 3×3 and I think they will be a great team,” said Stojajic.
“Tallo is perfect, (Brandon Ramirez) is a perfect player, but they need to be focused. We are practicing all year in 3×3. If they play more five-on-five than 3×3, that’s the only reason why they can’t play with the best teams in the world,” he added.
For the part of Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3×3, Chooks-To-Go President Ronald Mascariñas vowed to give the PH teams enough exposure to the international play in hopes to garner enough points for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament and be more competitive in 3×3 basketball.
“If we are going to succeed in the OQT, napakalayo ng agwat ng level of play natin against sa mga Serbians. They’ve been together for seven years, at least most of them. Serbia, nakuha na nila ‘yan eh. Nadevelop na nila ang expertise,” said Mascariñas.
“Makikita mo ‘yun eh. It came with experience playing the game. Sa atin, I think the best way, the best chance para at least lumapit man lang ang level natin is to expose our players to European (3×3) basketball.”