There are new kings in 3×3 basketball.
Newcomers Phenom-Basilan Steel completed their Cinderella run in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Patriot’s Cup presented by Coca-Cola. They outlasted the veteran-laden Wilkins-Balanga Pure, 21-20 in an overtime thriller, Saturday afternoon at the SM Megamall Events Center.
Basilan not only punched their ticket to the 2019 FIBA 3X3 Jeddah Masters on October 18 to 19. They also brought home PHP 1,000,000 in cash.
“Wala akong masabi. It couldn’t get more exciting as this,” said Basilan team manager Jackson Chua. “Ang hirap ng dinaanan namin. No better way to end it.”
And Basilan has no one else to thank than Franky Johnson for this one.
In the race-to-two extra time period, Basilan were down one after a Karl Dehesa layup. Showing his veteran wares in the next possession, Troy Rike made a quick handoff to Franky Johnson, screening Karl Dehesa. The 6-foot-3 guard then danced his way to the right corner, before heaving a fadeaway deuce over Dehesa’s outstretched arms.
Pandemonium ensued afterward.
“Everything was just moving so fast,” recalled Johnson. “I wasn’t even thinking about that shot, but as soon as my teammate got the rebound and got the ball to me, I was just kinda open a little bit. So I just decided to pull it.
“Thank God it went in, so I’m really excited about that,” he expressed.
“The play didn’t come off as cleanly as we wanted, but that’s what I’m saying. I trust Franky, I believe in Franky, and he’s one hell of a shooter. So I know that if I give him even an inch of space, I knew he was gonna knock it down,” said Troy Rike, who was part of the Grindhouse-Pasig squad that took down the President’s Cup four months ago.
Johnson had four points in the Million Peso Game, while Rike had one.
Marcus Hammonds and Roosevelt Adams had 11 and six points, respectively, for the Steel.
For the second straight conference, the Balanga franchise finished in second place, bringing home PHP 400,000 and a ticket to the 2019 Xiongan Challenger which takes place from August 23-24.
Alvin Pasaol and Travis Franklin paced Balanga with seven points each. Chris De Chavez – who forced overtime with a driving layup with six ticks remaining – and Karl Dehesa added three markers apiece.
In order to reach the last stage of this tournament sanctioned by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and endorsed by FIBA 3X3, Basilan cruised by Tycoon-Ballers QC, 21-4 (4:28), in the quarterfinals while outlasting Leg Two champs VetHealth-Delhi 3BL in the semis, 21-14 (2:31).
Wilkins-Balanga, on the other hand, survived a heated game against arch-rivals Gold’s Gym-Pasig Kings in the semis, 21-17 (2:55).
The Kings completed the podium, bagging PHP 200,000.
In the side events, VetHealth-Delhi’s Kiran Shastri completed a five-leg sweep of the Coca-Cola Two-Point Shootout. Meanwhile, David Carlos and Brodie Stephens were crowned co-champions in the Coca-Cola Slam Dunk Competition.
Phenom-Basilan 21 – Hammonds 11, Adams 6, Johnson 4, Rike 1.
Wilkins-Balanga 20 – Pasaol 7, Franklin 7, De Chavez 3, Dehesa 3.