MANILA, Philippines -- On the eve of FIBA 3x3's announcement on who will make it to the Olympic qualifying tournament, Balanga Chooks made sure to make one last stand.
Behind Alvin Pasaol, Balanga capped its dominant run in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 MelMac Cup with a 21-19 (6:22) win over Big Boss Cement-Porac, Thursday at Gold's Gym Athletics Sheridan in Mandaluyong City.
Down 19-18 with five minutes left, Pasaol, the second-ranked 3x3 player in the country took charge, first burying a deuce to send Balanga to championship point.
After getting a stop, Pasaol drove hard through the lane, sealing the win with a tough layup with 3:38 to spare in the level-five tournament.
"Sobrang saya na nakuha namin ito. Masaya rin ako na nakalaro ko si Aris [Dionisio] kasi wala si Santi [Santillan], umuwi siya para sa pamilya niya. Laki ng naitulong niya sa amin," said Pasaol, who had 13 points in the game.
Dionisio added four points, while Karl Dehesa and Chris De Chavez tallied two markers each.
Porac, the Cinderella story of the invitational, was paced by Ryan Monteclaro's 10 points.
Balanga was dominant in the second season, as it won five of the six legs. Including the eight-legged first season, Balanga brought home a total of P590,000.
"Pinakanatutunan ko rito is 'yung hindi ka mangungumyansa kahit sino kalaban mo. Kahit maliit sila o mabagal, puwede ka nilang talunin. Hindi ka puwedeng complacent sa bawat leg dito," admitted Pasaol.
Porac brought home P30,000 to end up with P340,000 for the tourney. Phenom-Basilan finished in third place this leg to bank P20,000.
Pasig, despite not finishing in the top three in this leg, still ended up as the big winners, taking home a total of P810,000.
Balanga's De Chavez also pocketed an extra P10,000 for winning the Chooks-to-Go Harissa Roast two-point shootout.
All the hard work of the players and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 for the last nine months will boil down on Friday, November 1, as FIBA 3x3 will announce the nations that will compete in the OQT next year.
Pasaol expressed his confidence that the Philippines will make it to the global meet that has three 2020 Tokyo Olympics slots at stake.
"Sobrang confident ko kasi yun lagi ko pinagdarasal na maka-OQT tayo. 'Yung pinaghirapan natin for the last nine months eto na 'yun. Maraming salamat kayla Boss Ronald Mascariñas at sa Chooks-to-Go. Ngayon kailangan na lang natin manalig," he said.
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