Expectations were high for Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC Green Gorillas entering the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup, powered by TM.
Coming off a spectacular campaign in the 22-leg MelMac Cup a year ago, team owners Gilbert and Melanie Cruz loaded up the squad by adding PH no. 3 player Dylan Ababou; gunners Jaypee Belencion and Dan Reducto; and big man James Laput to backstop Ryan Monteclaro and Harry Petillos.
But sad to say, the Green Gorillas have yet to meet those lofty standards.
“Personally, siguro ‘yung chemistry. Parang hinahanap pa namin ‘yun eh. Parang ngayon lang kami nagkakasama-sama,” opined Monteclaro during the Chooks-to-Go Crossover Podcast.
“Siguro ‘yung ngayon nakapag-adjust kami nung first two games. Tapos nung quarterfinals lang, medyo siguro pagod na rin.”
During their first foray, Ryan had no trouble building chemistry with his teammates despite being a newly-formed squad. He had Petillos, his brother Nikki, and good pals Ford Ruaya, Orin Catacutan, and Janus Lozada.
This time though, they had to integrate Laput fast.
“Basically ‘yung first two legs, if you noticed, nag-experiment kami with James so kasi gusto namin talaga siya i-push eh. Kasi first timer siya sa 3×3, siya nga ‘yung tallest dito ‘di ba? Kumbaga parang nacha-challenge lahat ng players sa kanya eh,” Monteclaro said about the 6-foot-10 Laput.
Leg Two might have been the breakthrough moment for Porac. They dominated the group stage, sweeping Bacolod and Pagadian. But a lackadaisical 13-21 loss to Pasig in the quarterfinals sent them back to the drawing board once more.
For Ababou, they also had to adjust to the officiating. While the audience has been clamoring that the game was too physical, it’s the other way around for the UST product.
“Siguro nahirapan kami mag-adjust kasi dapat three-on-three ito eh. Dapat pisikal eh, pero parang ang lambot ng tawag ng mga referee,” lamented Ababou, who played in multiple World Tour Masters last year.
Come Sunday, Big Boss Cement will field a quartet of Monteclaro, Ababou, Petillos, and Belencion. And they hope that this finally works.