CALAMBA – Favorites Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks and Uling Roasters-Butuan City set in motion their campaigns with victories in the second leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup yesterday inside the INSPIRE Sports Academy at the National University-Laguna campus here.
Joshua Munzon drilled in a game-clinching two-pointer as Zamboanga City topped Petra Cement Roxas ZN, 21-18, in Pool B while Butuan City turned back Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, 21-17, in Pool C.
Bannered by the country’s top guns in 3×3, Zamboanga City, which topped Butuan to rule the opening leg, hopes to make it two in the row inside the quarantine bubble.
Pasig Sta. Lucia later towed Zamboanga City to the quarterfinals, as the Realtors bundled out Roxas of contention with a 21-18 victory.
Butuan also made it to the top eight, following Bicol Paxful 3×3 Pro’s 21-19 win over the Valientes, eliminating Zamboanga Peninsula in the process.
In a stunning reversal, Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC rallied past Bacolod Master Sardines, 21-17, for a winning start in Pool D.
Bacolod sorely missed the presence of big man Chris Lalata, as the team decided not to field him in the second leg following a controversial incident with Nueva Ecija’s Juan Gomez de Liaño in a first leg pool match.
Staring at early elimination, Bacolod vented its ire on MLV Pagadian Rocky, 22-12, to end its Pool A stint with a 1-1 card.
Gomez de Liaño’s right foot landed on Lalata’s right foot after a lay-up and was ruled out of the 5:15 left in the game won by the Rice Vanguards last Wednesday. The University of the Philippines standout sat out yesterday’s second leg to heal his right ankle sprain.
Bucking the absence of Gomez de Liaño, Nueva Ecija nipped Palayan City, 21-20, on a Jai Reyes game-clinching floater for a winning start in Pool A.
The Sarangani Marlins then ousted Palayan City, 21-13, giving Nueva Ecija a free ticket in the knockout stages.
During the meeting Thursday night, commissioner Eric Altamirano said Lalata intruded on Gomez de Liaño’s landing spot and issued a stern warning to the Bacolod player.
“Naiintindihan kong wala kang intention. Ang na-violate mo siguro is yung landing spot ni Juan,” said Altamirano. Lalata later apologized to Gomez de Liaño.
“Hindi ko intensyon na sasaktan yung kalaban. Hindi ko intensyon na manggulang,” said Lalata.
Although that there was no bad intention from Lalata, Gomez de Liaño cannot help but question why the incident happened in the first place.
“I know Chris. He’s a nice guy. We were teammates in the D-League. I just want to understand why he needed to box out when the play already ended,” Gomez de Liaño said.