Youthful 1BATAAN Risers upset Pasig Grindhouse to rule 1st leg of Chooks 3×3
MANILA, Philippines — 1BATAAN Risers proved that they were the rightful kings as they were crowned as the champions of the first leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup, topping the Pasig Grindhouse Kings, 19-18, in the finals on Saturday at the SM Megamall Events Center in Mandaluyong.
Alvin Pasaol and Santi Santillan powered the young crew with seven points apiece as they completed the upset over the preseason favorites.
“We’re so happy and we really worked hard for this,” said Pasaol, the charismatic super scorer out of University of the East, in Filipino.
1Bataan was well on its way to a victory after taking a 16-11 advantage courtesy of a pair of freebies from Pasaol.
Taylor Statham, though, didn’t allow Pasig Grindhouse to go down quietly as he brought his side within one in the final two minutes before Joshua Munzon gave the Kings the lead, 18-17, with a booming long bomb in the final 55 seconds.
Santillan, however, had his way inside against Troy Rike to bring the lead back in the Risers’ favor, 19-18 with 30 seconds remaining.
Munzon tried his luck from the top of the arc, but his shot fell way short as 1Bataan banked on defense to hold off Pasig Grindhouse as time expired.
Sean Manganti chipped in five points, as Anton Asistio was the crucial fourth member of the Risers as they bagged the P100,000 cash prize.
“We beat them through our hard work. We really didn’t have any other strategy because they’re such a big team. We were the underdogs and undersized,” said Pasaol.
It was a successful inaugural staging for Chooks-to-Go president and league owner Ronald Mascarinas and commissioner Eric Altamirano, who both raised the curtain on the first-of-its-kind 3×3 league in the country.
Also gracing the event were former Gilas Pilipinas head coaches Tab Baldwin and Chot Reyes, ambassadors Kobe Paras, Kai Sotto, Terrence Romeo, and Calvin Abueva, FIBA 3×3 business director Fei Gao, and FIBA Oceania and Singapore executive director David Crocker.
Paras wasn’t just an observer for the day as he ruled the Gameville Dunk Contest with a sick one-handed tomahawk jam over four slouched referees to collect 49 points from the judges. He beat NU high-flyer Daniel Chatman’s 39 points for the throne.
Ababou, on the other hand, made up for Pasig Grindhouse’s runner-up finish with his Gameville Three-Point Shootout victory over Asistio, 6-3.
Carga Valenzuela and Pasay Voyagers also made it to the semifinals after topping their respective brackets.
The second leg of the President’s Cup will be on Sunday, February 24, still at the SM Megamall Events Center.
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