MANILA - The third leg of 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas President's Cup featured a couple of stunning upsets, as both Zamboanga City Chooks and Nueva Ecija fell in the quarterfinals.
Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors came back from 10 points down in the last three minutes to shock PH no. 1 Joshua Munzon, no. 2 Alvin Pasaol, and Zamboanga City, 21-18 (8:09).
Family's Brand Sardines, champion of the preseason and the first two legs, was well on its way to yet another win as Santi Santillan's inside basket put it up, 18-11, with 2:45 on the clock.
Pasig's defense firmed up from there, however, and frustrated the heavy favorites into misses and miscues.
At the other end, Jeckster Apinan and Felix Apreku did the heavy lifting as their side scored 10 unanswered points in a one-minute span to wrap up the shocking upset.
"Depensa lang talaga and heart manalo," answered Apreku when asked how they pulled off the come-from-behind win that ensures that there will be a new champion in the third leg of the conference.
The Realtors now move on to a second straight semifinals where they will face another team that slew a giant.
Palayan City eliminated Nueva Ecija with a convincing 21-14 (7:44) victory in the quarterfinals.
Bobby Balucanag and Clark Derige imposed their will on Mac Sabellina and Gab Banal and combined for 13 points to carry their side to a breakthrough semis appearance.
"Mas intense yung laban namin kasi sister teams kami e," said Balucanag about the matchup between the Capitals and the Rice Vanguards who both fall under the same mother franchise. "Nilaro lang namin yung advantage namin sa loob kaya siguro kami nanalo."
Nueva Ecija just did not have an answer for Balucanag, Derige, and JP Sarao's inside baskets as well as Renz Palma's drives to the ring.
The other bracket features a duel between preseason runner-up Bacolod-Master Sardines and first leg second-placer Butuan-City Uling Roasters.
Bacolod first dashed the hopes of surging Sarangani with a well-earned 21-20 (8:59) win.
Choi Ignacio scored the last two makes for Master Sardines as they weathered a late storm brought on by Pamboy Raymundo.
On the other hand, Franky Johnson put on a show and pushed Butuan City past Zamboanga Peninsula Valientes, 21-14 (7:53).
Johnson dazzled his way en route to 11 points to lead Uling Roasters to their third semis in a row.
In the TM Two-Point Shootout, Janus Lozada of Petra Cement-Roxas ZN did what no one has done before, knocking down all 10 balls to win the side-event.