CALAMBA — Uling Roasters-Butuan City gutted out a hard-earned 16-15 victory over the always-tough Bacolod Master Sardines and make it to the last four of the Grand Finals of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup presented by TM Friday at Inspire Sports Academy here.
Karl Dehesa and JR Alabanza both poured five points as both teams battled in a defensive struggle before seeing the time expire.
Chris de Chavez broke the 11-all deadlock for Butuan and made Bacolod pay for incurring it's seventh foul with 11:52 remaining, before Franky Johnson delivered the dagger deuce to extend the lead to 15-11 late.
It was an admirable effort from Bacolod, which leaned on the seven points of Alfred Batino.
Still, the game was Butuan's as it sets up a clash against the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards in the semifinals.
Three-seed Nueva Ecija avoided the upset axe from 10-seed Petra Cement Roxas ZN and pulled off a 21-14 win.
Gab Banal was sizzling for the Rice Vanguards, firing nine points to show that they still packed a punch despite missing star guard Juan Gomez de Liaño.
Maclean Sabellina also stepped up big late, scoring five of the last six points for the Rice Vanguards, including the game-icing free throw with 3:10 left.
Jai Reyes chipped in four points, as Tonino Gonzaga had three to progress to the semis.
Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors also marched to the semifinals, toppling Palayan City Capitals, 21-13.
Jhaps Bautista was on-target in the highly physical affair, draining three deuces to lead Pasig with seven points.
Cedrick Ablaza also made key baskets with his six points, while Jeckster Apinan put on the finishing touches in the five-seed Pasig's stunner over the four-seed Palayan with a pair of freebies with 2:48 remaining.
Pasig arranged a semifinals date against top seed Family's Brand Sardines Zamboanga City, which also dispatched Big Boss Cement-Porac MSC, 21-11.
Joshua Munzon was in peak form from the start, unleashing 12 points as he led his side to an early 12-4 onslaught.
But a resilient Porac side fought back behind Dylan Ababou and Ryan Monteclaro to cut the lead down to seven, 17-10, before Alvin Pasaol put the game under wraps, canning the game-winning freebie with 1:51 to spare.
Pasaol added seven points for Zamboanga City.