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Zamboanga City prevails over Nueva Ecija in 'Million Peso Game'

Zamboanga City walks away with the million bucks. Chooks-to-Go
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Zamboanga City showed in the end how good the team is as advertised.

Zamboanga City took home the overall championship of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup after beating Nueva Ecija, 22-19, in the grand final at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba on Friday.

In the so-called "Million Peso Game", Zamboanga City braved a late comeback bid from Nueva Ecija, which actually led early into the match, to seal the PHP1 million paycheck.

Zamboanga City came to within match point after taking a 20-16 lead with 2:14 left.

But Jai Reyes scored on a layup and a long tom to trim the lead down to one, 20-19, with 1:30 left--not to mention Alvin Pasaol missing two free throws that could have the game right there.

Nueva Ecija had an outright chance to steal the win, but Gab Banal missed a crucial deuce, paving the way for Joshua Munzon to finally seal the win with a deuce at the 1:11 mark of the game.

Munzon and Pasaol each finished with seven points to lead Zamboanga City, which will next play in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Doha Masters next month.

Troy Rike and Santi Santillan each chipped in four markers.

Reyes top scored for Nueva Ecija, which settled for the PHP300,000 prize pot for the second place finish, with eight points, while Tonino Gonzaga added six and Banal put up five.

Reyes, Gonzaga, and Banal were forced to play the full game as Mac Sabellina fractured his rib in Nueva Ecija's semifinal stunner over Butuan.

Zamboanga City, on the other hand, avenged its Leg 3 quarterfinal defeat to Pasig in the other semifinal game to make the "Million Peso Game".

Box Scores:

Zamboanga City 22-Pasaol 7, Munzon 7, Rike 4, Santillan 4

Nueva Ecija 19-Reyes 8, Gonzaga 6, Banal 5

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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