CALAMBA – Zamboanga City Family’s Brand Sardines banked on Joshua Munzon’s heroics in overtime to beat the Palayan City Capitals, 19-17, for a winning start in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM yesterday at the INSPIRE Sports Academy here.
In the bubble’s first OT game, Zamboanga City bucked a flat start to earn its first victory in Pool D.
It was a sorry loss for the Capitals, who led by as much as seven points in regulation but could not close it out in the highly-defensive match.
“It’s having some slow starts but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Munzon, the country’s top-ranked 3×3 player who came through with eight points.
Zamboanga City, which dominated the first two legs, hopes to rebound in the penultimate leg after missing the semifinals the last time out.
The Sarangani Marlins, meanwhile, bested Bacolod Master Sardines, 21-13, and nipped third leg champion Uling Roasters Butuan City, 21-19, to complete a two-game sweep in the tough Pool A.
Franky Johnson, Butuan City’s third leg hero, rested to preserve for this Friday’s Grand Finals of the five-legged tournament sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board.
With Johnson cheering on the sidelines, Butuan City kept its hopes alive for a second straight leg championship with a 21-16 conquest of Bacolod in a do-or-die game for the remaining quarterfinals slot in Pool A.
Looked like goners in the first seven minutes of play, Zamboanga City rallied from a 9-16 hole as Troy Rike, Santi Santillan and Munzon knocked down three straight two-pointers to trim down the deficit to just one.
After Palayan City was able to stop the bleeding, Santillan powered his way to the paint for a sweeping hook shot with 13.6 ticks left in the regulation to send the game into overtime.
“We are going through what every team goes, the highs and the lows. Just got to go through it,” said Munzon.
Rike had five points while Santillan chipped in three points for Zamboanga City.
Alvin Pasaol, Zamboanga City’s top gun, could not get his rhythm going as the former University of the East standout only produced three points.
The Capitals rebounded from the heartbreaking loss to Zamboanga City with a 21-6 dismantling of Pagadian Rocky Sports.
Still without injured ace Juan Gomez de Liaño, Nueva Ecija played just hard enough to carve out a 21-13 win over Bicol Paxful 3×3 Pro in Pool C.
Pasig Sta. Lucia, the third leg runner-up, secured a ticket to the next round with a 21-17 tripping of Bicol. The Realtors’ victory also towed the Rice Vanguards to the quarterfinals.
The Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV posted a 21-11 victory over Petra Cement Roxas ZN in Pool B and later got a free ride to the quarters as Big Boss Cement Porac, behind Dylan Ababou’s nine points, eliminated Roxas, 18-15.