For the past three months, the Pasig Grindhouse Kings and the 1Bataan Risers were fierce rivals during the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup.
Pasig’s quintet of Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, Troy Rike, Dylan Ababou, and Leo De Vera waged wars with Bataan’s Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Sean Manganti, Anton Asistio, and Chito Jaime, figuring in four of the five Finals during the conference.
But with the two squads advancing to both the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 Asia Pacific Super Quest and the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Tour in Doha, the two rivals turned into sparring partners, pushing each other to their limit night in and night out.
“I just want to point that we get to practice against each other, beat each other up, and get each other physically for the game,” President’s Cup MVP Joshua Munzon told Carlo Pamintuan of ESPN5.
“I think there is a lot brotherhood between us and there’s a lot of pride.”
“Sobrang saya nila kasama. Maganda yung chemistry namin,” added Pasaol.
For the World Tour, Munzon and Statham were joined by reinforcements Nikola Pavlovic and Travis Franklin while Pasaol and Santillan added Vigan’s Karl Dehesa and import Travis Franklin to their squad.
In Doha, FIBA only allotted 15 minutes of practice time to each squad hours before the tournament began.
Finding a loophole, both Pasig Chooks and Balanga Chooks (1Bataan) opted to have a joint session so that both squads will have 30 minutes to prepare.
“We want to do our best and motivate each other. I think it definitely helps us,” said Munzon.
Besides this, the two squads were seen cheering for each other during the group stages.
In one instance, during Balanga’s 20-19 conquest of Moscow Inanomo, Pavlovic, Rike, and Tsagarakis were the first ones to celebrate with Pasaol after he knocked down the game-winner.
“Yung dalawang team natin, gusto pumasok sa semifinals. Puso at tiwala lang ang kailangan,” said Pasaol.
Pasig and Balanga ended up sweeping their respective pools to avoid an All-Filipino match-up in the knockout quarterfinals.
And nothing would be sweeter for them than to meet in the final and renew their rivalry on the biggest stage in 3×3 basketball.