Zamboanga City returns to Chooks 3x3 semis

Family's Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks returned with a vengeance in Leg 4 of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM.

Joshua Munzon made sure there was no repeat of Zamboanga City's shock exit as they won the 'Battle of Zamboanga' against Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, 21-16 (7:30), to advance to the semifinals on Tuesday, October 27, at the Inspire Sports Academy here in Calamba.

The Philippines' top-ranked player dropped all 11 of his points in the latter half of the quarterfinals matchup and outscored their opponents by his lonesome in that timeframe.

Rudy Lingganay was red-hot and his deuce kept Zamboanga Peninsula in it, only down 15-17, but Munzon was just a man on a mission and made good on an and-1 and then two free throws to seal the deal.

"We just gotta keep playing hard, keep giving everything we got," said the league top gun of their renewed focus in the penultimate leg. 

"Every game we've played is rough, but all that matters is the win at the end of the day."

Troy Rike was also firing on all cylinders and wound up with 5 points to help Zamboanga City barge back into the last 4.

In the third leg last Sunday, Family's Brand Sardines was shockingly shown the door in the quarters by Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, but there will be no rematch in the Final Four of this leg still streaming on Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas Facebook and FIBA 3x3 YouTube and airing on BEAM TV channel 31.

Instead, Munzon and company will be challenged by the Sarangani Marlins, who demolished Pasig-Sta.Lucia, 21-15 (6:40).

Marvin Hayes was showing off his newfound outside stroke, but it was Pamboy Raymundo who booked their first-ever trip to the semis with his trademark mid-range pullup.

The opposite side of the pairings will then pit Leg 3 champion Uling Roasters-Butuan City against upstart Palayan City.

Uling Roasters was already down for the count, but scored 8 unanswered points to stun Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, 21-20 (8:08).

Tonino Gonzaga's longball put Nueva Ecija on top, 20-13, with 3 and a half minutes left, but that was their last make as Butuan City shut down both Gab Banal and Jai Reyes.

"Sinabi ko sa kanila na wag ma-frustrate kasi may time pa naman nun," said veteran Chico Lanete after firing 7 points. "Nag all-out lang kami sa offense at defense nun."

(I told them not to get frustrated because there’s still time. We went all out on offense and defense.)

At the other end, Lanete, Karl Dehesa, JR Alabanza, and Chris de Chavez then converted consecutive deuces for a come-from-behind win that kept them alive for back-to-back championships.

But first, Uling Roasters will have to go through Palayan City which made quick work of Big Boss Cement Green Gorillas-Porac, 21-12 (7:30).

The Capitals are into their second straight Final Four courtesy of Renz Palma's right hand-to-left hand layup. –