Nzeusseu out of commission in Abu Dhabi


CAMEROONIAN big man Mike Nzeusseu has been ruled out of Manila Chooks TM after the team held its final training before the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Abu Dhabi Masters at the Kasr Al Amwaj on Thursday in the United Arab Emirates.

Nzeusseu suffered a minor left hand fracture last October 20 during Manila’s semifinals game against Cebu in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Invitational.

The country’s No. 3 3×3 player Mark Yee has been activated to replace Nzeusseu. Completing the team are No. 1 Mac Tallo, No. 2 Zach Huang and No. 16 Chico Lanete.

“Of course, Mike is a big loss to our team but it’s the situation dealt to us,” Manila’s head trainer Aldin Ayo said. “But Mark is ready because he has been training with us along with Dennis [Santos], Jayvee [Marcelino] and [Ralph] Tansingco. “So today, we gave one last run-through of our system since this is the first time Mac, Chico, Zach and Mark will be playing together.”

“I’m really disappointed because I have been really looking for this moment for two years for me to play one day for Chooks-to-Go,” Nzeusseu said. “I tried but I could not give my 100-percent if I played with this injury.”

Tallo, Lanete Huang, and Santos went 0-2 in the qualifying draw at the Doha Masters in March. Six months later, Tallo, Huang, Santos and Yee finished in 11th place at the Montreal Masters.

This time, Manila Chooks will face world No. 4 Liman of Serbia and No. 5 Amsterdam Talent & Pro of The Netherlands in Pool D. The Philippine-side will hit the half court against Liman on Friday at 10:20 p.m. (Manila time) and Amsterdam at 2:45 a.m.

The top two teams in the group will advance to the knockout playoffs in the maximum level tournament.

Despite the predicament, Ayo and the team remained focused on making the knockout stage.

“The goal is still to make the playoffs,” Ayo said. “If we stick to the system, we can upset Liman or Amsterdam.”

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