CALAMBA, LAGUNA – The 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas President’s Cup powered by TM is on high alert for upsets, Sunday inside the INSPIRE Sports Academy here as fancied teams Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks and Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards both fell in the Leg 3 quarterfinals.
Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors came back from 10 points down in the last three minutes to shock PH no. 1 Joshua Munzon, no. 2 Alvin Pasaol, and Zamboanga City, 21-18 (8:09).
Family’s Brand Sardines, champion of the preseason and the first two legs, was well on its way to yet another win as Santi Santillan’s inside basket put it up, 18-11, with 2:45 on the clock.
Pasig’s defense firmed up from there, however, and frustrated the heavy favorites into misses and miscues.
At the other end, Jeckster Apinan and Felix Apreku did the heavy lifting as their side scored 10 unanswered points in a one-minute span to wrap up the biggest upset in the Philippines’ pioneering 3×3 league energized by hydration partner Gatorade.
“Depensa lang talaga and heart manalo,” answered Apreku when asked how they pulled off the come-from-behind win that ensures that there will be a new champion for the first time inside the ‘CalamBubble.’
The Realtors now move on to a second straight semifinals appearance where they will face another team that slew a giant.
There are no sister teams here as Palayan City eliminated Nueva Ecija with a convincing 21-14 (7:44) victory in the quarterfinals.
Bobby Balucanag and Clark Derige imposed their will on Mac Sabellina and Gab Banal and combined for 13 points to carry their side to a breakthrough semis appearance.
“Mas intense yung laban namin kasi sister teams kami e,” said Balucanag about the matchup between the Capitals and the Rice Vanguards who both fall under the same mother franchise. “Nilaro lang namin yung advantage namin sa loob kaya siguro kami nanalo.”
That was the crystal clear difference between the two teams as Nueva Ecija just did not have an answer for Balucanag, Derige, and JP Sarao’s inside baskets as well as Renz Palma’s drives to the ring.
The Leg 3 Final Four of the FIBA 3×3-endorsed tournament will keep streaming on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook and FIBA 3×3 YouTube and airing on BEAM TV CH. 31.
The other bracket features a duel between preseason runner-up Bacolod-Master Sardines and first leg second-placer Butuan-City Uling Roasters.
Bacolod first dashed the hopes of surging Sarangani with a well-earned 21-20 (8:59) win.
Choi Ignacio scored the last two makes for Master Sardines as they weathered a late storm brought on by Pamboy Raymundo.
On the other hand, Franky Johnson put on a show and pushed Butuan City past Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes, 21-14 (7:53).
Johnson razzled and dazzled his way en route to 11 points to lead Uling Roasters to their third semis in a row.
In the TM Two-Point Shootout, Janus Lozada of Petra Cement-Roxas ZN did what no one has done before, knocking down all 10 balls to win the side-event.