Franky Johnson knocked in the game-winner as Butuan City-Uling Roasters escaped Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, 21-20 (9:42.6), to rule Leg 3 of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM.
Johnson was misfiring for most of the match, but came alive in the most critical moment with his long ball over the defense of long-limbed Jeckster Apinan, finishing the job in their undefeated run on Sunday, October 25, at the Inspire Sports Academy here in Calamba.
Despite Johnson’s early struggles, Butuan City still put the ball in his hands with the team down, 19-20, just 27 ticks to go.
With all the confidence, he danced behind the arc and then drilled the deuce that let Uling Roasters become only the second squad to win a leg in the Philippines' pioneering 3x3 league.
The shifty shooter wound up with 6 points, but wouldn’t have gotten that chance if not for Chico Lanete, who turned back the clock and tallied 8 points, including two baskets and bonuses.
Of course, it was the veteran who kept Butuan City’s head in the game after a disappointing preseason, a runner-up finish in Leg 1, a semifinals exit in Leg 2, and then a challenging Leg 3.
“Sinasabi ko sa kanila lagi, wag ‘nyo i-doubt yung sarili ‘nyo kasi may chance pa tayo,” he said after helping Butuan bag the P100,000 top prize.
“Alam naman naming pwedeng-pwede pa kaming bumawi at ito na nga yung resulta.”
(I always tell them, don’t doubt yourself because we still have a chance. We knew that we could still come back and that’s how the result turned out.)
Chris De Chavez contributed 4 points while JR Alabanza chipped in 3 markers.
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.
Pasig, which posted its best finish, received a P30,000 runner-up prize.
It was the Realtors who also shockingly showed the door to Zamboanga City-Family's Brand Sardines – the tournament top seed and winner of the preseason and the first two legs – with a 21-18 (8:09) comeback win in the quarterfinals.
Then in the semifinals, they conquered Palayan City Capitals, 21-9 (6:45).
Third place and P20,000 went to Bacolod.
Meanwhile, history was made in the TM side events as Petra Cement-Roxas ZN’s Janus Lozada hit all of his 10 shots to rule the Two-Point Shootout.
In the Slam Dunk Contest, ‘Air’ David Carlos defended his crown.
Leg 4 of the FIBA 3x3-endorsed tournament kicks off on Tuesday still inside the ‘CalamBubble.’
Butuan City 21 – Lanete 8, Johnson 6, De Chavez 4, Alabanza 3.
Pasig 20 – Ablaza 7, Apinan 7, Bautista 5, Apreku 2.