Pasig Chooks bounces back, takes Leg 8 of MelMac Cup

Pasig Chooks exacted revenge against Big Boss Cement - Porac to take Leg 8 of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 MelMac Cup presented by Gold's Gym and Coca-Cola, 21-17 (8:11), Tuesday afternoon.

Coming off a heartbreaking 21-18 (6:50) loss yesterday in the Finals against the same team, Franky Johnson made up by swishing the game-winning two with 1:49 left.

The swingman was on the wrong end Monday, as opposing guard Ryan Monteclaro hit an absurd circus shot over him to take Leg 7.

Johnson ended the game with nine points, six of which came from downtown.

Johnson, along with Troy Rike, Joshua Munzon, and Dylan Ababou, bagged their sixth title in the eight-leg tournament. They also finished second twice; and notched third once, which brought them a total of P650,000 in prizes.

"We always have each other's backs. With this four, I feel like this is already a great team for us. We've got a good chemistry and we get better each day," said Johnson, who is in his first conference with Pasig.

Unlike their previous meeting, the top 3x3 squad in the country raced to a big lead midway through the contest; their advantage peaking at five, 10-5, after an and-one play from Joshua Munzon.

Ryan Monteclaro managed to slice the deficit to two, 12-10, before Johnson responded with a two to make it 14-10.

Sensing change of momentum, Pasig doubled up against their competitors, with Johnson and Munzon combining for three to widen the gap, 18-13.

Ryan Monteclaro made a desperation heave to cut it to two again, 19-17, setting up the Johnson walk-off winner.

Porac took home P30,000 for the third time this season as second, while Phenom Basilan CTC Construction wound up third with P20,000.

Meanwhile, a star-studded contest headlined the Finals of the women's division, with Ever Bilena prevailing over Blackwater, 21-18 (7:40).

The Gilas Women trio of Afril Bernardino, Tina Deacon, and Ria Nabalan defeated the group of fellow national team members Janine Pontejos, Chack Cabinbin, and Eunique Chan to get the P20,000 award. Blackwater took home P10,000, while Careline got third for P5,000 pesos.

Deacon swished the game-winning shot from downtown at the 3:20 mark, ending up with six points.

Bernardino led Ever Bilena with eight. Nabalan, meanwhile, had an outstanding game with seven.

Pontejos carried the load for her squad with 14 markers.

"We challenged ourselves to compete at the highest level. The self-confidence was there, since we knew that our opponents were good too," said Bernardino.

To solidify its bid for an entry to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next April, Season 2 will commence Wednesday, featuring six more legs of the MelMac Cup.