By Mark Manez
VIGAN, Ilocos, Sur - Upsets, blowouts and tons of defense kicked off the 2018 Palarong Pambansa 3x3 festivities at the Quirino Stadium Open Courts, Thursday evening.
Ilocos Region survived on several late Calabarzon charges to open the prelims with an electric 19-16 decision in the secondary boys bracket. They survived back-to-back rallies before snatching away the victory to the delight of the home crowd.
Powerhouse National Capital Region made a statement with a masterclass 21-8 mauling of Cordillera Administrative Region, featuring insane ball handling skills and red-hot shooting from rainbow territory.
In other secondary boys results, Bicol Region survived Cagayan Valley with a 17-14 decision; ARMM squeaking past a tough Eastern Visayas quartet, 12-11; Northern Mindanao exacting revenge against their Central Visayas opposites, 16-11; Davao Region over Central Luzon, 16-11; and Western Visayas pounding Caraga, 16-10
In the distaff side of the prelims, several low scoring games occurred with Calabarzon eaking out Northern Mindanao, 7-3; NCR escaping ARMM's upset bid, 8-6; Bicol Region pulling down Western Visayas, 11-6; and Davao Region denying hosts Ilocos a double celebration with a 14-13 wringer.
As of 10:10 p.m. Thursday, NCR still remained distant from the pack with their 47 gold, 40 silver and 21 bronze medal haul.
Western Visayas is at second with 36 gold, 37 silver and 27 bronze medals in their name. Both regions have now breached the century line with 108 and 100 total medals respectively.
Calabarzon still sat at third with their 24-29-44; CAR at fourth with 21-16-16; and SOCCSKSARGEN completing the top five with their 17-15-22.
Central Visayas sits sixth with their 14-10-17 total haul, Northern Mindanao closely trailing them at seventh with 13 gold, as many silver, 19 bronze medals. Eighth is Central Luzon with 11 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze medals. Davao Region (10-15-13) and Cagayan Valley (8-5-12) are at ninth and tenth place respectively.
Completing the medal tally are Bicol Region (7-13-25), Eastern Visayas (7-9-5), hosts Ilocos Region (7-8-16), Caraga (6-7-13), and Mimaropa with 4 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze medals.
Zamboanga Peninsula and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remain as the only contingents yet to win their first gold medals with seven silver-13 bronze and one bronze medals, respectively.