By Kevin Sox
The Philippines’ two representatives in the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters, Pasig and Balanga, both swept their elimination round groups on Friday (Manila time) to send a strong statement to the opposition.
Team Pasig, bannered by the Philippines’ top 3×3 player Joshua Munzon, Taylor Statham, and imports Nikola Pavlovic and Angelo Tsagarakis, swept Pool A with dramatic wins over Katara, 21-14 and the top-seeded Liman side, 19-16.
Against Liman, Pavlovic’s long two and a lay-up by Munzon broke a 14-all deadlock and gave Pasig a 17-14 cushion. Liman cut the deficit within 17-16 but Statham sank two straight buckets to push the Philippine side to victory.
Pavlovic is no stranger to 3×3 competition, having played for legendary squad Novi Sad Al Wahda two years ago.
Meanwhile, Karl Dehesa, Alvin Pasaol, Leonard Santillan, and import Travis Franklin of Team Balanga conquered adversity en route to an impressive sweep of Pool C.
Balanga stunned no. 3 seed Riga of Latvia, 19-17, before capping Day 1 with a huge 20-19 victory over Moscow in spite of having only three available players.
Prolific scorer Travis Franklin led all players in Day 1 with 24 points in two games. He dropped 14 over Riga before adding 10 in the win over Moscow.
Needing to score two points first in overtime, Pasaol was the hero for Balanga against Moscow as he sank a long range bucket after the game was tied 18 apiece in regulation.
Pasig will now battle Riga in the quarter-finals while Balanga will square off against Liman.