MPBL players hit paydirt in Chooks-to-Go 3×3 tilt

Roy Luarca ( – November 2, 2020 – 2:22pm

MANILA, Philippines – For Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) players, the Chooks-to-Go 3X3 Pilipinas President’s Cup was a big relief.

It whipped them back into competitive shape and provided them with sustaining funds at the same time.

Powerhouse Zamboanga City-Family’s Brand Sardines, composed of national pool members Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Joshua Munzon and Troy Rike, dominated the 12-team competition, topping the pre-season, the first, second, and fourth legs, and the grand finals at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

Zamboanga City bested Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, composed of MPBL Datu Cup MVP Gab Banal (from Bacoor Strikers), Jai Reyes, Maclean Sabellina, and Juan Gomez de Liano, 21-17, in the national title tussle held October 30.

Over 90% of those who competed in the event staged in honor of Bountry Agro Ventures, Inc. president Ronald Mascarinas were MPBL players deprived of livelihood by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Altogether, Zamboanga City banked P1.35 million, a cool P1 million coming from being the national champion, P300,000 for the three-leg victories, and P50,000 for the pre-season triumph.

Pasaol, a vital cog of Zamboanga City-Family Brand Sardines’ MPBL team, and Santillan, of its sister team Bacolod-Masters Sardines in the stalled Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Cup, will split the total amount earned with Munzon, the country’s top 3×3 player, and the 6-foot-8 Rike.

Only Butuan City Uling Roasters, composed of JR Alabanza (Bulacan Kuyas), Chris De Chavez (formerly of  Valenzuela Classic), Franky Johnson, and Chico Lanete (Sarangani Marlins), broke through by nipping the Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, 21-20,  in the third leg final.

Completing the field are Bicol Paxful 3×3 Pro, Palayan City Capitals, Petra Cement-Roxas City ZN Rockies, Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes MLV, Pagadian City Rockies, and Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC Green Gorillas.

Zamboanga City’s near-sweep was expected as it fielded the same Philippine team that swept the Jakarta 3×3 International Invitational Challenge last November.

Truth is, Munzon and Pasaol, the country’s second-ranked 3×3 player, are shoo-ins for Team Philippines in the 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Graz, Austria, from May 26 to 30, 2021.

As such, they remain noncommittal to join next year’s PBA draft with Santillan and Rike, who are also sure first-rounders.

For now, they want to enjoy their compensation for 16 days of, practice, play, and isolation.

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