THE best way to begin one’s title bid? Rule the preseason.
That’s exactly what favorite Zamboanga City-Family’s Brand Sardines did, tripping Bacolod-Master Sardines 21-17 in the finals of the preseason tourney of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 member and Fil-Am forward Joshua Munzon led Zamboanga City with seven points, while wingman Alvin Pasaol added five markers.
Big men Troy Rike and Leonard Santillan had five and four points, respectively for Zamboanga City, which pocketed P50,000 and got the needed boost going into the first leg of the country’s first 3×3 pro tourney energized by Gatorade that kicks off today at the same venue.
The 6-foot-4 Munzon said their preseason triumph meant so much for them since they absorbed a stunning 19-21 loss to Bicol-Paxful SMDC 3×3 Pro in the qualifying round.
“This (preseason win) meant bigger for us because we lost,” said Munzon.
“We learned to play every game like we mean it,” he added.
Bacolod pulled to within 15-16, less than five minutes left, but Munzon scored on two straight longballs that made it 20-15.
The 6-foot-3 Pasaol had the chance to ice the match but he missed on a free throw that led to a Chris Lalata basket 17-20.
Pasaol atoned for his previous miss and sealed the deal with an inside bucket.
After losing to Bicol-Paxful SMDC 3×3 Pro, the Family’s Brand Sardines-backed Zamboanga City scored three straight wins, including a 21-14 beating of Nueva Ecija in the semifinals.
The Rice Vanguards, led by University of the Philippine playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño, settled for third and a cash prize of P20,000.
Before the final’s loss, Bacolod was as impressive as Zamboanga City, but just fell short in the tourney that has Gatorade as its official hydration partner.