CALAMBA, LAGUNA — Butuan City-Uling Roasters planted its flag on the mountaintop of Leg 3 of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM after persevering against Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, 21-20 (9:42.6).
Franky Johnson was misfiring for most of the match, but came alive in the most critical moment. His longball over the defense of long-limbed Jeckster Apinan finished the job in their undefeated run, Sunday inside the INSPIRE Sports Academy.
Johnson had been struggling, but Butuan City still put the ball in his hands, down 19-20 with 27 ticks to go.
With all the confidence, he danced behind the arc then drilled the deuce. With that, Uling Roasters became only the second squad to win a leg in the Philippines’ pioneering 3×3 league energized by hydration partner Gatorade.
The shifty shooter wound up with six points. Still, he wouldn’t have gotten that chance if not for Chico Lanete who turned back the clock and tallied eight points, including two basket and bonuses.
Of course, it was the veteran who kept Butuan City’s head in the game after a disappointing preseason; a runner-up finish in Leg 1; a semifinals exit in Leg 2, and then a challenging Leg 3.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanila lagi, ”Wag niyo i-doubt ‘yung sarili niyo kasi may chance pa tayo’,” he said, out of breath but full of life after helping his team win P100,000. “Alam naman naming pwedeng-pwede pa kaming bumawi at ito na nga ‘yung resulta.”
Chris De Chavez contributed four points, while JR Alabanza chipped in three markers of his own.
Uling Roasters remained unscathed in the group stages before breezing through Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes, 21-14 (7:53), in the quarterfinals; then breaking down Bacolod-Master Sardines, 21-18 (6:43), in the semifinals.
Receiving the runner-up’s P30,000 prize is Pasig, which also posted its best finish.
Moreover, the Realtors shockingly showed the door to Zamboanga City-Family’s Brand Sardines, winner of the preseason and the first two legs, with a 21-18 (8:09) comeback win in the quarterfinals.
Then in the semifinals, they conquered Palayan City Capitals, 21-9 (6:45).
Third-place and P20,000 went to Bacolod.
Meanwhile, history went down in the TM side events. Petra Cement-Roxas ZN’s Janus Lozada hit on all of his 10 shots to rule the Two-Point Shootout.
In the Slam Dunk Contest, ‘Air’ David Carlos defended his crown.
Leg 4 of the FIBA 3×3-endorsed tournament kicks off on Tuesday, still inside the ‘CalamBubble.’
BUTUAN CITY-ULING ROASTERS 21 – Lanete 8, Johnson 6, De Chavez 4, Alabanza 3
PASIG-STA. LUCIA REALTORS 20 – Ablaza 7, Apinan 7, Bautista 5, Apreku 2