MANILA North and Manila West arranged an all-Filipino showdown in the semifinals of the 2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters on Sunday at the Robinsons Place in Manila.
Calvin Abueva spearheaded Manila North to a grind-out 21-19 win over Kobe, Japan, while Terrence Romeo led the reigning champion to a 21-19 win over Longshi, China to advance in the semifinals.
The showdown between the two local teams assured the country of at least vying in the championship of the Manila leg of the tournament.
Abueva hit two free throws and a two-pointer that broke a deadlock, 15-11, enough cushion to give Manila North the victory in a highly-physical encounter against the bigger Kobe team, which has Devaughn Washington of the United States and Nyika Williams of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as players.
“Pisikal eh. Lumalaban naman sila ng pisikalan kaya maganda ang laro,” said Abueva, still huffing and puffing while being interviewed by the media.
“Kaya kami nananlo kasi pisikal kami tska team kami maglaro,” the Alaska star added.
“Di ko rin masabing pikon sila pero andun ‘yung laro nila. Siyempre kami, hindi kami nag-give-up,” he added.
Romeo began a 6-0 run with a lay-up and two-pointer to bring Manila West’s lead to 15-7 to keep its title-retention going.
“Kung sino na lang ang suwertehin sa amin,” said Romeo.
Reigning world tour champion Novisad AlWahad of United Arab Emirates beat Auckland, New Zealand, 21-10, to move in the semifinals where it faces Doha, which won over Ljubljana of Slovenia, 20-18.