MANILA, Philippines -- Joshua Munzon heated up late to tow Zamboanga City Chooks past Butuan-Uling Roasters, 21-17, in a thrilling final to rule the first leg of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go President's Cup, Wednesday night at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Munzon scored the final seven points for Family's Brand Sardines, who were pushed to the limit by Butuan.
The Uling Roasters threatened the heavy favorites, leading 17-14 inside the last three minutes before Munzon -- the No. 1 3x3 player in the country -- took over. A deuce by Munzon sparked a 7-0 ending blast that pushed Zamboanga City to victory.
"Again, it showed we can fight through adversity," said Munzon, who scored 12 points, including the free throw that sealed the deal. "We just stuck to our script. We took advantage of our advantages."
Zamboanga City earned a P100,000 reward for winning the first leg of the conference.
While Munzon took time to get going, it was Alvin Pasaol who kept Zamboanga City afloat, finishing with six points. Troy Rike added two points and Santi Santillan had one.
Even though they fell short, Butuan is P100,000 richer as well, as Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascarinas pledged the amount to whoever the opponent is whenever Family's Brand Sardines makes the finals.
Karl Dehesa showed the way for Uling Roasters with six points while Chris De Chavez and Chico Laneta each scored four.
Franky Johnson only had three points, but it was still a bounce back performance for the Uling Roasters after they were bounced in the quarterfinals in the preseason.
Family's Brand Sardines ended Porac's resurgence and then extinguished Nueva Ecijaa's fire in their match, 21-19, to the championship round, while Uling Roasters blasted Bacolod and then bested Zamboanga Peninsula, 21-16.
Rounding out the top three for Leg 1 are the Rice Vanguards who continued opening eyes as they survived Juan Gomez de Liaños's injury and Mac Sabellina's ejection to top Pool D in the group stages.
In the quarterfinals, Gab Banal and Jai Reyes kept on willing their side until running into Zamboanga City once more.
De Chavez also pocketed an extra P10,000 after taking down the TM Two-Point Shootout, knocking down nine of the 10 balls with 18 seconds to spare.
The TM Slam Dunk Contest, on the other hand, saw a huge upset as newcomer Jesus Manay bested decorated local dunker David Carlos to take home P20,000.
The second leg of the FIBA 3x3-endorsed tournament kicks off on Friday still inside the Inspire Sports Academy.