Wilkins Balanga finally nabbed the elusive championship, ruling the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Magiting Cup presented by Coca-Cola, after taking down arch-rivals Equalivet Pasig, 21-19 (9:17), Friday at the SM Megamall Events Center in Mandaluyong.
“Sobrang sarap kasi all throughout this season, Pasig talaga yung kalaban namin. Pero yun nga, nakaisa kami. Naka-tsamba kami,” said Alvin Pasaol, as Balanga finished as runners-up in both the President’s and Patriot’s Cups.
Though he might think that it was luck, Pasaol’s determination is what lifted Balanga to the top in this tournament sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and endorsed by FIBA 3×3.
With 1:43 left and Balanga clinging to a 20-19 lead, the burly 6-foot-4 forward brushed off Joshua Munzon’s sticky defense. He then knocked down an undergo stab for the million-peso bucket.
Pasaol had 12 points in the finale.
Besides bringing home one-million pesos, the Pure also punched their ticket to the 2019 Jeju Challenger, which takes place from October 5-6.
Balanga led by as much as four points midway through the finale. The duo of Dylan Ababou and JR Alabanza then rallied the Kings, eventually knotting things up at 18-all with 2:32 left.
Karl Dehesa sent Balanga to match-point with 1:58 remaining after a long deuce. Though Alabanza was able to score underneath, there was little time for Pasig to regroup on defense, as Pasaol took it upon himself to end the contest.
Dehesa and Santi Santillan added five and four markers respectively for Balanga, who only lost once in 18 games this conference.
“We gained a lot of experience abroad and it translated to finally winning this one today,” said Dehesa.
Ababou paced Pasig with 10 points, while Joshua Munzon was limited to just two markers.
The Kings — who are set to fly out to Kaohsiung on Saturday for a Challenger tournament — were rewarded with P 500,000 for finishing second. Fyr Fyter Bacolod, who finished in third place, brought home P 250,000.
Balanga advanced to the finals thanks to a Santillan game-winner over Phenom-Basilan, 21-18 (8:16). On the other hand, Munzon knocked down a winner of his own with just 20 seconds left in the game to complete Pasig’s escape of Bacolod, 21-19.
In the Chooks-to-Go Harissa Roast side-events, David Carlos completed a sweep of the dunk contest. Meanwhile, Bacolod’s Adrian Celada won the two-point shootout.
Wilkins Balanga 21 – Pasaol 12, Dehesa 5, Santillan 4, De Chavez 0.
Equalivet Pasig 19 – Ababou 10, Alabanza 6, Munzon 2, De Vera 1.
Wilkins Balanga 21 – Pasaol 12, Santillan 6, De Chavez 2, Dehesa 1.
Phenom Basilan 18 – Johnson 10, Dionisio 4, RIke 2, Banal 2.
Equalivet Pasig 21 – Munzon 8, Ababou 5, De Vera 5, Alabanza 3.
Fyr Fyter Bacolod 19 – Nermal 9, Celada 3, Medalla 3, Dela Cruz 3.