MANILA, Philippines – Equalivet-Pasig ended the dominance of Wilkins-Balanga in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Magiting Cup and punched their ticket to the Kaohsiung Challenger, which takes place from September 21 to 22 in Taiwan.
Pasig emerged victorious in the dramatic 21-18 (9:08.4) win in the final of the fourth leg on Sunday, September 15, and took home PHP 100,000.
Aside from avenging the 20-21 (8:02) final loss to Balanga during the third leg of the tournament sanctioned by FIBA 3x3 and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the Kings also ended the Pure's 14-game winning streak this conference.
"Sobrang sarap kasi hindi pa namin sila natatalo sa this conference. 'Yung last leg, hindi kami makatulog nun sa sakit nung talo namin sa kanila last week," said Pasig skipper Dylan Ababou.
(It was a great feeling to win because we haven't beaten them in this conference. In the last leg, we couldn't sleep because the loss was so painful.)
And Pasig could not have done it without the heroics of Ababou and Leo de Vera.
As Balanga stormed back from 5 points down and knotting the game at 16-all with 2:14 left after a thunderous jam by Santi Santillan, Ababou took charge, knocking down a deuce.
Though Alvin Pasaol was able to get one back against him, the UST product drained another bomb to send Pasig to match point with 1:28 left.
Sorry misses by Santillan and Pasaol led to the latter sending De Vera to the foul stripe. De Vera easily knocked down his charity to end the game with 52.6 seconds to spare.
"It's one of the best feelings in the world, to have a game-winner like that. Honestly, it's the hard work that pays off. It's everyone's dream to have a game-winner. It might not be a triple but it still feels the same," said De Vera.
Ababou had 4 points while De Vera chipped in 3 markers.
Joshua Munzon, who powered Pasig's early surge, had a game-high 12 points. Big man JR Alabanza replaced guard Travis Thompson for the Kings this leg.
Chris de Chavez led Balanga's balanced attack with 6 points. Pasaol had 5 markers, Santillan finished with 4 while Karl Dehesa chipped in 3.
Despite the loss, Balanga remained on top of the table heading into the Grand Finals with 340 points. Pasig remained at second with 320 points while Fyr Fyter Bacolod is at third with 280 points.
Completing the top 4 is Phenom-Basilan CTC Construction steal with 270 points as the Steel were given 60 points for the leg for representing the country in the 2019 Shukhbaatar Challenger.
In the Chooks-to-Go Harissa Roast side-events, David Carlos took down the slam dunk competition to bank P20,000 while Mindoro Tamaraws 7A's Jay Axalan won the two-point shootout for P10,000.
For the first time, the team that registered the fastest win was awarded as well. The Adobo Connection-Gulf Supreme Boosters Bulacan took home an extra P10,000 for defeating Bicol in the quarters, 21-14, in just 4 minutes and 56 seconds of game time.
The final leg of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Magiting Cup will take place on Friday, September 20, at the SM Megamall Events Center.
A total of P1,750,000 will be at stake with the champion bringing home P1 million.
Besides that, the champion team will also be awarded a ticket to the 2019 Jeju Challenger, which takes place from October 5 to 6, 2019.
Pasig 21 - Munzon 12, Ababou 4, De Vera 3, Alabanza 2.
Balanga 18 - De Chavez 6, Pasaol 5, Santillan 4, Dehesa 3.