CALAMBA, LAGUNA — Palayan City sent a statement that there will be two teams from Nueva Ecija competing in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas President’s Cup, powered by TM.
The Capitals swept their assignments in Pool C on Wednesday afternoon. Their last win was a 21-15 (6:20) dispatching of Bicol-Paxful 3×3 Pro inside the INSPIRE Sports Academy.
Clark Derige and JP Sarao imposed their will on the Bicolanos, pounding in nine and six points, respectively.
Sarao’s six straight points inside the last six minutes fueled the breakaway for Nueva Ecija. They pushed their one-point lead to a 19-14 edge.
Mon Mabayo’s inside basket kept Bicol in it and they were only down 15-20. but Derige’s own short stab dashed their hopes once and for all with 3:40 left on the clock.
The Capitals built on their earlier conquest of Dylan Ababou’s Big Boss Cement-Porac to top Pool C and book a seat in the quarterfinals.
Even so, Renz Palma — who added two points of his own — knows full well they have much room for improvement.
“Ang mindset lang namin is aayusin pa namin ‘yung dapat ayusin,” he said.
In the playoffs, Palayan City may meet sister team Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards. The Vanguards automatically advanced by virtue of Bacolod-Master Sardines’ 21-17 triumph over Petra Cement Roxas-ZN Rockies in Pool D.
Alfred Batino picked up the slack in Bacolod’s opener, since Anton Asistio was not hitting his trademark longballs.
Master Sardines and the Rice Vanguards will still go at it in the last game for Pool D. Both have already qualified for the next round after taking care of Roxas.
The same situation is true for Pool B with Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors sending Pagadian-Rocky Sports MLV to their second straight loss, 21-13 (8:32).
Felix Apreku’s inside basket lifted Pasig to its first win. They will still take on the also-1-0 Butuan-Uling Roasters to end the group stages.
Roxas and Pagadian bowed out of the first leg after going winless.
Earlier, Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks dominated Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, who stunned Sarangani earlier 21-19, in Pool A action with a 21-14 win.
Four games remain in the qualifying round as of press time. The knockout playoffs begin at 5:00 p.m. with PHP 100, 000 at stake.