The race to the championship of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Patriot’s Cup, presented by Coca-Cola, is wide open, with the Grand Finals set on Saturday at SM Megamall.
The top four teams are favored to take the crown. The champion will only bagging the P1-million cash prize, but will also earn a ticket to the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Jeddah Masters in October.
Phenom-Basilan will head into the Grand Finals as the top seed thanks to its 320 points, and for sure, the squad of Franky Johnson, Roosevelt Adams, Troy Rike, and Marcus Hammonds are motivated to prove that the third leg champions are ready for primetime.
“It’s our chance to show that Basilan is for real, and it’s our time,” said Johnson.
But not far behind is fourth leg champs Wilkins Balanga, who got the second seed with its 320 points. The quartet of Alvin Pasaol, Karl Dehesa, Chris de Chavez, and Travis Franklin look to sustain their victory just two weeks ago.
“Malaking bagay sa amin yung panalo noong fourth leg, kaya itutuloy-tuloy na namin,” said Pasaol, as the Balanga side will miss the services of Santi Santillan.
Familiarity, meanwhile, will be the ace for Gold’s Gym Pasig as Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, Dylan Ababou, and Nikola Pavlovic once again gun to reiterate its standing as the best 3×3 crew in the country despite being the three-seed with its 310 points.
“There’s a reason why we have the top players in the Philippines, and there’s no better way for us than to win in the Grand Finals again,” said Munzon of the world no. 28 crew as they gun for back-to-back titles after ruling in the President’s Cup.
And of course, VetHealth Delhi 3BL is out to spoil the party for the Filipinos as they approach the Grand Finals as the four-seed with its 300 points. Inderbir Singh Gill, Kiran Shastri, Bikramjit Gill, and Amjyot Singh Gill wanting to come home victorious.
The top four seeds will get an automatic bye in the quarterfinals, with the last eight teams facing off in the knockout stage.
Eight-seed MiGuard Vigan (129 points) will bank on veterans Jerwin Gaco and JR Cawaling when they battle the Rod Ebondo-led nine-seed Tycoon Ballers-QC (115 points) at 11:00 a.m. The winner will meet Phenom Basilan CTC at 12:30 p.m.
Five-seed Zamboanga Valientes MLV (180 points), leaning on Ola Adeogun, will meet the 12-seed Marikina Shoemasters (81 points) of Charles Mammie and JJ Espanola at 11:15 a.m., with the victor bracing for VetHealth Delhi 3BL at 1:30 p.m.
Rich Managor flanks six-seed Cebu Max4-Birada (139 points) as it collides with 11-seed Thunder-Pateros Hunters (98 points), of Prince Eze at 11:30 a.m. Gold’s Gym Pasig awaits the winner at 1:45 p.m.
And finally, all-local Mindoro Tamaraws, which holds the seven-seed (136 points) will clash against 10-seed Inoza Gulf-Supreme Boosters Bulacan (100 points) of Chibueze Ikeh at 11:45 a.m. The winner battles Wilkins Balanga at 12:15 p.m.
The runner-up won’t go home empty-handed as it will take home P400,000, while the third-place team will bag P200,000.
The second placer in points will also earn a ticket to the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Xiong’An Challenger in China in August.
“We’re very much excited that the best 3×3 players in the country will be giving their all as our Patriot’s Cup reaches its fever pitch,” said league owner Ronald Mascariñas.
In the side-events, Kiran Shastri looks to complete a sweep in the Coca-Cola Two-point Shootout while David Carlos, Jebb Bulawan, Darwin Cantong, and international dunker Brodie Stephens are set to thrill in the Coca-Cola Slam Dunk Competition. The winner of each event takes home P25,000.