MANILA - Franky Johnson nailed the biggest shot of the game to power Butuan City-Uling Roasters past Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors in a thrilling finish, 21-20, to rule the third leg of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup.
Johnson misfired for most of the game, but came alive in the crucial moments as his longball over Jeckster Apinan gave Butuan City the victory in nine minutes and 42.6 seconds, Sunday night at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Despite Johnson's struggles, Butuan City still gave him the ball in the endgame with their team down 19-20 in the final 27 seconds.
He lost Apinan with a series of moves then drilled the deuce that made Butuan City only the second squad to win a leg in the professional 3x3 league.
Johnson finished with six points, but it was Chico Lanete who kept the Uling Roasters afloat by tallying eight points off two baskets and bonuses.
"Sinasabi ko sa kanila lagi, wag niyo i-doubt yung sarili niyo kasi may chance pa tayo," said Lanete afterward. "Alam naman naming pwedeng-pwede pa kaming bumawi at ito na nga yung resulta."
Butuan City had a disappointing preseason but finished in second place in the first leg, and made it to the semifinals in the second before they finally broke through in Leg 3.
Chris De Chavez contributed four points while JR Alabanza chipped in three markers of his own.
Uling Roasters remained unscathed in the group stages before breezing through Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes, 21-14 (7:53), in the quarterfinals and then breaking down Bacolod-Master Sardines, 21-18 (6:43), in the semifinals.
For their efforts, they took home a prize of P100,000.
Receiving the runner-up's P30,000 prize is Pasig which also posted its best finish.
The Realtors also got the distinction of ousting heavy favorites Zamboanga City-Family's Brand Sardines. The squad, bannered by national team stars Alvin Pasaol and Joshua Munzon, dominated the preseason and won the first two legs but fell prey to a comeback by Pasig, who won 21-18 (8:09).
In the semifinals, they conquered Palayan City Capitals, 21-9 (6:45).
Meanwhile, history was made in the TM side events as Petra Cement-Roxas ZN's Janus Lozada hit on all of his 10 shots to rule the Two-Point Shootout.
In the Slam Dunk Contest, David Carlos defended his crown.
Leg 4 of the FIBA 3x3-endorsed tournament kicks off on Tuesday.