CALAMBA – Fancied Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks downed Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, 21-14, for a winning start in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM yesterday at the INSPIRE Sports Academy inside the National University-Laguna campus here.
Troy Rike caught fire in the end game, capping his game-long brillance with a two-pointer at the 3:44 mark that virtually gave Zamboanga City a spot in the quarterfinals in Pool A.
“We are holding ourselves to a high standard. We don’t want to drop any games and we don’t want to take the easy route,” said the 6-foot-8 Rike.
Powered by national 3×3 pool standouts led by Joshua Munzon and Alvin Pasaol, Zamboanga City is tipped to win the five-legged tournament, which finally opened after a seven-month shutdown due to COVID-19 pandemic that forced the now-pro league to play in the Calamba bubble.
Rike had seven points while Munzon and Pasaol added six and five points, respectively, for Zamboanga City. Santi Santillan, the team’s fourth player, chipped in four.
Newcomer Palayan City swept Pool C with identical 21-15 wins over Big Boss Cement-Porac and Bicol Paxful 3×3 Pro.
With a 2-0 card, Palayan City booked a slot in the quarterfinals.
Also advancing into the next round are Pool B squads Uling Roasters-Butuan City and Pasig Sta. Lucia Realtors.
Chico Lanete turned back the hands of time to lift Butuan City to a 21-12 win over Pagadian City-Rocky Sports.
Pasig then eliminated Pagadian City with a 21-13 victory to clinch its spot in the quarterfinals.
Zamboanga Peninsula ended the group stages with a 1-1 slate, as it failed to follow up its 21-19 conquest of the Sarangani Marlins in the opening match.
Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, one of Zamboanga’s biggest threats in the throne, took dominant 21-10 win over Petra Cement-Roxas in Pool D.
Bacolod Master Sardines then bundled out Roxas City of contention in Pool D with a 21-17 romp.