|Both Nueva Ecija and Butuan went at it in the quarterfinals as if they were in the final of the preseason tournament. Chooks-to-Go|
MANILA--Zamboanga City may have the last laugh in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 preseason tournament.
However, the talk was on the quarterfinal showdown between Nueva Ecija and Butuan.
The intense game between the two clubs was arguably the top trending topic from Monday's tuneup series considering the physicality and the emotions that ran throughout the game.
The match saw both teams combined for 26 fouls with Butuan easily getting into the double bonus penalty and eventually amassing 17 of the fouls called.
While the game lasted for four minutes and 14 seconds in game time, it actually went for 20 minutes and 30 seconds in real time due to the stoppages in play brought about by the fouls and some taunting.
The too much fouls turned out to be fatal for Butuan as Nueva Ecija banked on the late free throws and extra possessions to hack out a 21-10 rout.
But the game showed what to expect once the regular season commences on Wednesday at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.
"We play with a lot of heart," Butuan guard Franky Johnson said on Tuesday.
"I can tell you, we are going to compete," added Nueva Ecija playing team manager Jai Reyes.
Despite all the hard fouls, staredowns, and banters, though, Reyes reiterated that both his team and Butuan quickly made amends.
"All good sa lahat ng players pagbalik sa rooms," he said.
Both Nueva Ecija and Butuan are on different groups again for the first leg of the President's Cup, meaning they can only meet again somewhere in the playoffs.
But Johnson is already looking forward to the next time they meet.
"We're looking forward to the rematch," he said.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_