Valientes continue to take Australian 3X3 hoops by storm | Inquirer Sports
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Valientes continue to take Australian 3X3 hoops by storm

/ 04:01 AM January 11, 2021

The victorious Zamboanga Valientes MLV were joined in the awarding by Champions League Basketball CEO Matt Howard (third from left). —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Zamboanga Valientes MLV continued their histo­ric journey with a Philippine first in Australia basketball.

Proving they’re not a one-hit-wonder, the Valientes trounced the Clippers, 21-12, in the final Saturday night as a Philippine representative ruled the Champions League Basketball 3×3 in Bendigo City.

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It was the second straight title for the Valientes, composed of Christopher Concepcion, Eric Miraflores, Duwom Dawan and Adam Kempton. The squad also topped the 3×3 Christmas Street Hustle in Canberra last December.

While the Valientes overpowered the local side, they barely survived the South Sudan team in the semifinals.

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Trailing with three seconds to go, Zamboanga managed to force overtime at 17-17 on a Dawan conversion from a drop pass by Miraflores.

Team skipper Concepcion, the pride of Tumaga, Zamboanga City, then took over by drilling in a jumper from beyond the arc for a 19-17 victory.

Training tirelessly even during the holiday break under coach and team coowner Junnie Navarro, the Valientes dumped Formosa, composed of players from Chinese Taipei, 21-5, in the opener then swept Group B with a 12-5 victory over the Australia-based Barbers Boys.

The Clippers, South Sudan and Australia Ginger made up Group A.

“We are dedicating this victory to Zamboanga and Zamboangueños all over the world,” said Navarro, a player of the Zamboanga team that topped the first National Basketball Association 3×3 competition back home. “We proved we can excel against foreign competition in 3×3.”

Michael Venezuela, coowner of Zamboanga Valientes MLV, said he is proud of the players’ character and resiliency, showing they’re worthy of their “Valientes” (brave) moniker.

Many Zamboangueños traveled from all over Australia to watch the Valientes live at the Bendigo Stadium while thousands more followed the games live on the Zamboanga Valientes’ Facebook page.

The Valientes, as a result, have received an invitation to compete in New Zealand this year.

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