CALAMBA, LAGUNA – In a battle of the last two runners-up in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM, it was Gab Banal who proved to be the difference.
The ninth-ranked 3×3 player in the country did not allow Nueva Ecija to fall to Pasig-Sta. Lucia, carrying his side to a thrilling 21-19 (8:58), Tuesday at the INSPIRE Sports Academy here.
Up by seven 17-10, the Rice Vanguards figured into trouble after tallying their 10th foul. In FIBA 3×3 rules, the 10th foul and onwards will result in two free throws plus ball possession.
The Realtors used this to their advantage, eventually gaining an 18-10 lead.
Banal though gained the hot hand just in time, knocking down back-to-back deuces to sweep Pool C in this tournament that is sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board and endorsed by FIBA 3×3.
Banal had 11 points in the game.
“Mental lapse but it’s tough to think when you’re tired,” said Banal about giving up a huge lead late against the Realtors.
Nueva Ecija will meet Uling Roasters-Butuan City in the knockout quarterfinals.
Earlier, Butuan City knocked out Bacolod-Master Sardines, 21-16 (9:28.3).
Chris De Chavez had a masterful game, dropping 11 markers.
“Like I said, in the first game we didn’t bring our one-hundred percent. We needed to bring our all in this game,” said De Chavez as they lost their pool play opener against Sarangani, 19-21 (8:23).
This is the first time in three legs that Bacolod City, who did not have Alfred Batino for the stop, did not make the next round that has P100,000 waiting for the winner.
Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks completed its sweep of Pool D with a dominant 21-7 (5:06) romp of the still winless Pagadian City Rocky Sports.
Troy Rike (7), Joshua Munzon (6), Alvin Pasaol (4), and Santi Santillan (4) took turns for the nationals in the rout.
Zamboanga City takes on Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes in the KO round.
Big Boss Cement-Porac, who defeated Valientes 21-19 (1:18), takes on Palayan City while Pool A leaders Sarangani Marlins face Pasig-Sta. Lucia.
Besides the playoffs, also taking place as of publishing is the TM side events – Slam Dunk Contest and Two-Point Shootout.