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Zamboanga City rules Chooks 3x3 preseason tourney

Zamboanga City lived up to the hype. Chooks-to-Go
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Zamboanga City showed why it is the team to beat in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup.

The Family's Brand Sardines-backed squad ruled the Chooks 3x3 preseason tournament, beating Bacolod, 21-17, in the final on Monday night at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.

Joshua Munzon waxed hot just in time as his back-to-back deuces helped Zamboanga City survive a gritty stand from Bacolod.

Zamboanga City was on track of pulling away from Bacolod early after building a 12-6 lead with 5:56 left.

But Alfred Batino scored three straight baskets while Robin Rono connected on a huge triple as Bacolod eventually came to within two, 14-16, with 3:02 remaining.

Rono had a chance to tie the game after fishing Zamboanga City's seventh team foul that put the squad in the first penalty, but Rono could only make a split from the line and Bacolod was just down one, 15-16, with 2:45 to go.

Munzon then went to work, dropping two straight long toms to bring Zamboanga City to within match point.

Chris Lalata scored on a two-handed jam to keep Bacolod in the fight, but Alvin Pasaol converted the match point to seal Zamboanga City's win.

Munzon finished with seven points to lead Zamboanga City, which won PHP50,000.

Santi Santillan contributed six points, Troy Rike added five markers and Pasaol finished with three.

Batino and Rono each tallied six points for Bacolod, which settled for the PHP30,000 second prize pot.

Nueva Ecija, which put up a gallant stand against before bowing to Zamboanga City in the semifinals, walked away with PHP20,000 as the third placer.

The preseason tournament serves as a tuneup for the President's Cup, which will begin on Wednesday back at Inspire.

Box Scores:

Zamboanga City 21-Munzon 7, Santillan 6, Rike 5, Pasaol 3

Bacolod 17-Rono 6, Batino 6, Lalata 3, Asistio 2

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_

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