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3x3 Basketball

Dehesa sparks, Pasaol finishes as Balanga gets back at Pasig in MelMac Cup

Balanga Chooks reclaimed the throne from rival Pasig Chooks in comeback fashion, 21-19, to clinch the penultimate leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 MelMac Cup Season 2, Wednesday afternoon at Gold’s Gym Sheridan in Mandaluyong.

Freed by a screen, Alvin Pasaol fired the game-winning deuce from the left wing with 3:47 remaining for its fourth overall title in five legs in the tourney, which is also presented by Gold’s Gym and Coca-Cola.

However, it was Karl Dehesa’s nine points — including some key free throws down the stretch — that propelled the Pure to another Php100,000 prize at the expense of the top 3×3 club in the country.

“It’s always a good feeling to win a good championship, especially against a tough team like Pasig,” said Dehesa. “It’s always good to beat them. Hats off to the team.”

Pasig, which looked calm and collected throughout the day, quickly zoomed to a 10-3 advantage capped off by a line-drive deuce by Franky Johnson.

Balanga then managed to uncork a 6-0 blast to bridge the gap to one, 10-9. But Joshua Munzon scored inside to increase the lead back to two.

Munzon’s jumper from beyond the arc then extended the lead to 14-10, before Aris Dionisio and Dehesa connived to tie the game at 14.

The Kings were then whistled for their seventh team foul midway through the contest, which became the deciding factor down the stretch.

Dehesa completed the and-one play to give the Pure the 17-16 lead. The Kings then managed to tie the game at 19-all following a booming tomahawk jam by Munzon.

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That only led to Pasaol delivering the winner for Balanga, as it beat Pasig for the third time in four championship duels this season.

Munzon, the top 3×3 player in the country, paced Pasig’s offense with 12 markers to take home the Php30,000 incentive.

Mindoro Tamaraws ended up third for Php20,000.

Thursday’s leg will be the curtain closer for the Philippines’ bid for a spot in the inaugural 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

FIBA will announce the 24 entrants on Friday, November 1.

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