Equalivet-Pasig ended the dominance of Wilkins-Balanga in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Magiting Cup presented by Coca-Cola, taking a dramatic 21-18 (9:08.4) victory in the final of the fourth leg, Sunday.
With the win, Pasig took home PHP 100,000 and punched their ticket to the Kaohsiung Challenger, which takes place from September 21 to 22 in Taiwan.
Besides getting payback for the 20-21 (8:02) final loss to Balanga during the third leg of hits tournament sanctioned by FIBA 3×3 and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the Kings also ended the Pure’s 14-game winning streak this conference.
“Sobrang sarap kasi hindi pa namin sila natatalo sa this conference. Yung last leg, hindi kami makatulog nun sa sakit nung talo namin sa kanila last week,” said Pasig skipper Dylan Ababou.
And Pasig could not have done it without the heroics of Ababou and Leo De Vera.
As Balanga stormed back from five points down and knotting the game at 16-all with 2:14 left after a thunderous jam by Santi Santillan, Ababou took charge, knocking down a deuce.
Though Alvin Pasaol was able to get one back against him, the product of UST drained another bomb to send Pasig to match point with 1:28 left.
Sorry misses by Santillan and Pasaol led to the latter sending De Vera to the foul stripe. De Vera easily knocked down his charity to end the game with 52.6 seconds to spare.
“It’s one of the best feelings in the world, to have a game-winner like that. Honestly, it’s the hard work that pays off. It’s everyone’s dream to have a game-winner. It might not be a triple but it still feels the same,” said De Vera.
Ababou had four points while De Vera chipped in three.
Joshua Munzon, who powered Pasig’s early surge, had a game-high 12 points. Big man JR Alabanza replaced guard Travis Thompson for the Kings this leg.
Chris De Chavez led Balanga’s balanced attack with six points. Pasaol had five markers, Santillan finished with four, while Karl Dehesa chipped in three.
Despite the loss, Balanga remained on top of the table heading into the Grand Finals with 340 points. Pasig remained at second with 320 points while Fyr Fyter Bacolod is at third with 280 points.
Completing the top four is Phenom-Basilan CTC Construction steal with 270 points as the Steel were given 60 points for the leg for representing the country in the 2019 Shukhbaatar Challenger.
In the Chooks-to-Go Harissa Roast side-events, David Carlos took down the slam dunk competition to bank PHP 20,000 while Mindoro Tamaraws 7A’s Jay Axalan won the two-point shootout for PHP 10,000.
For the first time, the team that registered the fastest win was awarded as well. The Adobo Connection-Gulf Supreme Boosters Bulacan took home an extra PHP 10,000 for defeating Bicol in the quarters, 21-14, in just four minutes and 56 seconds of game time.
The final leg of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Magiting Cup presented by Coca-Cola will take place on Friday, September 20 at the SM Megamall Events Center. A total of PHP 1,750,000 will be at stake with the champion bringing home a cool million. Besides that, the champion team will also be awarded a ticket to the 2019 Jeju Challenger, which takes place from October 5 to 6, 2019.
Pasig 21 – Munzon 12, Ababou 4, De Vera 3, Alabanza 2.
Balanga 18 – De Chavez 6, Pasaol 5, Santillan 4, Dehesa 3.