Despite being the new kids on the block, Nueva Ecija showed that it won’t be pushed around by Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3’s old guard, Uling Roasters-Butuan.
Numerous hard fouls, technicals, and jawing marred the Rice Vanguards’ 21-10 (4:14) win over Uling Roasters-Butuan in the quarterfinals of the 2020 President’s Cup presented by TM, Monday evening at Inspire Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The youngest player on the floor, Juan Gomez de Liaño, was a man trying to prove that he belongs with the big boys. He constantly attacked PH no. 8 player Franky Johnson on the drive, drawing an unsportmanlike foul early.
Later on, it was Jai Reyes who tried to frustrate Johnson.
It did not stop there. National team pool members no. 9 Gab Banal of Nueva Ecija and no. 20 JR Alabanza of Butuan then figured in a war of words, resulting in the latter incurring a technical foul.
Banal’s free throws with 5:46 left ended the contest.
A total of 17 fouls were slapped on Butuan, while Nueva had nine.
As the players moved back, Alabanza walked out which did not go unnoticed by Reyes.
This, despite it being just a preseason game.
Nueva Ecija takes on Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga in the semis.