CEBU CITY -- The Gold's Gym Pasig Kings emerged victorious as the champions of the first leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriot's Cup presented by Coca-Cola at the SM Seaside Cebu here on Sunday.
The Pasig four of Taylor Statham, Dylan Ababou, Joshua Munzon, and Nikola Pavlovic defeated the Basilan Phenom CTC Construction of Roosevelt Adams, Troy Rike, Franky Johnson, and Marcus Hammonds II, 21-15 (2:08), to win the P100,000.
The Filipino-Am Statham drilled the stepback game-winning two-pointer at the 2:08 mark to become the kings of the Cebu leg.
The Kings had control of the game from the get-go, racing to a 5-1 advantage.
However, Adams took matters to his own hands and helped cut the lead to two, 12-10, but came down after tweaking his right ankle.
Statham took the scoring load for Pasig, scoring over half of their team's points, ending the finals with 13 big points.
For this tournament, each team will be allowed to field in an import to help bolster their squad. In addition, two foreign squads will participate in the tourney, with the Delhi squad flying to Cebu.
Statham shared that with a larger talent pool, it could bring out the best in them.
"I feel I like this conference, with the imports brings a lot more talent," said Statham.
"Those are two great teams we just played. Can't make too many misses and mistakes."
In their road to the Finals, the Kings had to overcome world no. 14 VetHealth Delhi 3BL in a heated semifinals game, 21-16 (3:01).
The Indian team hit a snag when Arsh Deep Singh was not allowed entry to the country due to documentation issues.
Even though they did not have Singh with them, they flexed their muscles and showed why they are the best-ranked Asian 3x3 squad, but they could have used an extra body against the physical play of the Pasig quartet.
From the other semifinals bracket, it was the hot hands of Johnson that helped send Basilan to the leg finals, defeating the Wilkins Balanga, 21-19 (1:52).
Johnson scored 11 huge markers in the the game, including seven straight to start the contest.
Adams, however, made the smart play, connecting with Hammonds II to make the game-winning layup with 1:52 left on the clock.
Much like the previous Presidents' Cup, 12 teams across four brackets took the floor in front of numerous spectators for a chance to take home the financial reward.
What was more important though, with the event being endorsed by FIBA at the Quest level, much-needed points for the World 3x3 Rankings were awarded to all participants of this fastest-growing variant of basketball.
The Patriot's Cup will feature five legs scattered over the next several weeks, culminating at the SM Megamall Event Center on July 27.
Cebu also had a chance to be represented by two teams for this leg. Joining the MAX-4 Cebu Birada of Darrel Menina, Elmer Echavez, Jr, Mark-Gil Panerio and Rich Managor, the Southwestern U Cobras squad of Shaq Imperial, Dyul Roncal, Red Cachuela, and Lamine Thiam also played.
The Birada split their two games against Quezon City and Mindoro, respectively. SWU did show some fight against their opponents, but came up short in both outings against Mindoro and Balanga.
Just like the previous legs, side events such as the Two-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest wowed the supportive crowd.
David 'Air David' Carlos took flight once more and took home Php 10,000 after besting his opponents in the Slam Dunk Contest.
Kiran Shastri of Delhi, meanwhile, was hailed as the top sniper of the Two-Point Shootout as he drilled 14 points to nab the award and a Php 10,000 cash prize, besting Cebu's Mark-Gil Panerio in the Finals, who netted nine.