Injuries keep De Liaño, Lanete on sidelines

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    TWO teams determined to pull off the biggest surprise in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM will have to make do sans two key players.

    Uling Roasters-Butuan City veteran guard Chico Lanete and Nueva Ecija playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño have been ruled out of today’s grand finals at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

    “There’s so much to risk about his (Gomez de Liaño) future. Although we treat this as a major tournament for us and we really want to win, we just weighed the pros and cons and it’s unfair to him if pilitin namin siyang lumaro,” Rice Vanguards playing-team manager Jai Reyes said yesterday during a press conference via Zoom.

    “Gusto niya lumaro, but siyempre the assessment from everybody who’s working closely with Juan is hindi pa niya kaya na full speed, so we don’t want to risk everything. For the past legs na hindi siya nakakalaro, he’s been doing that, cheering us up. After this bubble, were brothers already,” he added.

    The 6-foot-1 Gomez de Liaño sat out the rest of the country’s first 3×3 pro tourney energized by official hydration partner Gatorade after he went down with a sprained right ankle in Leg 1.

    No. 3 Nueva Ecija will rely on the likes of Reyes, gunner Gab Banal, Maclean Sabellina, and Tonino Gonzaga.

    Lanete, a PBA journeyman, is nursing a swollen left shoulder he suffered in Leg 4 last Tuesday.

    Karl Dehesa, Fil-Am Franky Johnson, Chris De Chavez, and JR Alabanza will carry the fight for No. 2 Butuan City.

    The grand finals, where P1 million is at stake, kick off at 11 a.m. and will be streamed on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook and FIBA 3×3 YouTube and aired on BEAM TV Ch. 31
    Top seed Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks is favored to rule the grand finals after winning three of the four legs and the preseason.

    Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors will be the fourth-ranked squad.

    The top four teams await the winners in the four knockout matches with Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC Green Gorillas (No. 8) and Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV (No. 9) kicking off the last leg.