THE Zamboanga Valientes continued their historic ride in Australia basketball.
Proving they’re not a one-hit-wonder, the Valientes trounced the Clippers, 21-12, in the final Saturday night to rule the CLB 3×3 in Bendigo City and become the first Philippine team to win in the Champions League Basketball in Australia.
It was the second straight title for the Valientes, composed of Christopher Concepcion, Eric Miraflores, Duwom Dawan and Adam Kempton, who also topped the 3×3 Christmas Street Hustle in Canberra last December.
While the Valientes overpowered the local side, they barely survived the South Sudan team in the semifinals.
Trailing with three seconds to go, Zamboanga managed to force overtime at 17-17 on a Dawan conversion from a drop pass by Miraflores.
Team skipper Concepcion, pride of Tumaga, Zamboanga City, then took over by drilling in a jumper from rainbow territory for the 19-17 victory.
Training tirelessly even during the Christmas and New Year breaks under coach and team-co-owner VenezuelJunnie Navarro, the Valientes dumped Formosa, composed of players from Chinese Taipei, 21-5, in the opener then swept Group B with a 12-5 victory over the Australia-based Barbers Boys.
The Clippers, South Sudan and Australia Ginger made up Group A.
“We are dedicating this victory to Zamboanga and Zamboanguenos all over the world,” said Navarro, a player of the Zamboanga team which topped the first NBA 3×3 competition in the Phillippines. “We proved we can excel against foreign competition in 3×3.”
Michael Venezuela, co-owner of Zamboanga Valientes MLV, said he is proud of the players’ character and resiliency, showing they’re worthy of their Valientes (Brave) moniker.
Many Zamboanguenos traveled from all over Australia to watch the Valientes live at the Bendigo Stadium while thousands more followed the games live on the Zamboanga Valientes’ and Mayor Beng Climaco’s Facebook page.
According to Venezuela and Navarro, Zamboanga Valientes has received an invitation to compete in New Zealand this year and they’re inclined to accept the offer.
The Valientes team was supported by Smart, Chooks-to-Go, and MLV Accounting.