Zamboanga nails another plum, gains Grand Finals top seeding

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) – October 29, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Santi Santillan turned garbage into gold late in the match as Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City edged Uling Roasters-Butuan City, 21-20, to rule the fourth and final leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna Tuesday night.

With the count at 20-all, the 6-foot-3 Santillan was in the right place at the right time, plucking the offensive rebound off a Joshua Munzon miss and subsequently going to the line on a foul by Butuan’s Chris de Chavez.

Santillan coolly made the charity and Zamboanga thus secured its third title out of the possible four to hike its prize earnings to P300,000.

That’s apart from the P50,000 the squad pocketed for topping the pre-season event on Oct. 19.

The three-leg champs – also featuring Alvin Pasaol and Troy Rike – shoot for the P1 million grand prize in the knockout-format Grand Finals tomorrow.

“We just gave our all-out effort,” said Santillan.

Despite the loss, Butuan received the P100,000 special prize offered by league owner and Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas to whoever challenged Zamboanga in the finale.

Munzon carried the load for his team in most part, exploding for 11 points including a booming two-pointer that gave them a 20-16 lead.

But De Chavez refused to fade away into the night and drained a couple of deuces to knot the count at 20-all before turning from a potential hero to goat with his crucial foul on Santillan.

The game-winning free throw capped Santillan’s six-point showing against Butuan.

Zamboanga, Butuan, Nueva Ecija and Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, on the strength of their showings in the initial legs, have automatically made the quarters of the Grand Finals.

The eight other teams go through an earlier knockout play to determine the last four quarterfinalists.

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