JOSHUA Munzon proved to everyone why he's the top 3x3 player in the country, towing Pasig to a thrilling 21-20 Finals triumph over rival Balanga in the first leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 MelMac Cup at Gold's Gym Sheridan in Mandaluyong.
The Fil-Am guard was scorching hot with his six deuces to finish with 13 points, but his biggest bucket came from the charity stripe, canning the game-winning freebie off a foul from Santi Santillan with 2:01 left.
The match had everything you can ask for from the top Filipino 3x3 sides, with Munzon engaging against a hobbled but game Alvin Pasaol in the nip-and-tuck championship match presented by Gold's Gym and Coca-Cola.
Pasaol put Balanga ahead, 19-18 with a freebie with 2:35 left, but Munzon responded with a quick two to grab a 20-19 lead. Santillan knotted the score at 20 with a thunderous one-handed jam to set up the wild finish.
However, Balanga could not capitalize on a Pasig scramble as Santillan was whistled for a travelling violation with 2:04 remaining.
That opened the window for Munzon to slash to the rim and drew the foul to close out the tightly contested first leg.
"We're very competitive. Every time we step on the court, we want to prove that we're the best team in the Philippines and we know that everybody's out there to beat us," said Munzon.
"We just got to keep on doing the right things and continue to make the right plays."
Franky Johnson also did his share with seven points, as Troy Rike had one for Pasig, which bagged the P100,000 cash prize.
Pasaol, meanwhile, bucked a sprained ankle and poured in 13 points for Balanga. Santillan had four points while Karl Dehesa chimed in three for the runner-ups, who settled for the P30,000 prize.
Quezon City Capitals took home third place which comes with a P10,000 consolation and make the podium in the 16-team field.
Ever Bilena ruled the women's division, dominating Blackwater in the Finals, 21-9.
Leg two of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 MelMac Cup continues on Saturday.
PASIG 21 - Munzon 13, Johnson 7, Rike 1, Ababou 0.
BALANGA 20 - Pasaol 13, Santillan 4, Dehesa 3, De Chavez 0.
EVER BILENA 21 - Bernardino 6, Pontejos 6, Miranda 5, Castillo 4.
BLACKWATER 9 - Cabinbin 4, Chan 2, Penaranda 2, Nabalan 1.