SANTI Santillan was a much needed shot in the arm for Wilkins Balanga as it ruled the fourth leg of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriot's Cup presented by Coca-Cola on Saturday at SM Megamall Events Center.
The former La Salle forward made his triumphant return to the squad and helped them top rival Gold's Gym Pasig, 21-17, in the final.
"Laking bagay ni Santi kasi lalo kaming lumaki. Grabe din yung mga shots niya," said Alvin Pasaol, whose tough runner over Taylor Statham put the game under wraps with 1:26 remaining.
Santillan, who missed the first three legs and was vital in Balanga's success in the President's Cup, sparked the 7-2 run that turned the game from an 8-9 deficit to a 15-11 lead.
"Yun lang nasa isip ko. Sabi ko sa sarili ko nakapag bumalik ako ng 3x3, dapat champion ako. Na-miss ko yung larong ito," said Santillan.
Statham and Joshua Munzon tried to bring Pasig back in the game, but Prince Orizu and Pasaol locked the game up with crucial buckets in the closing moments.
Pasaol led Balanga with eight points, as Santillan poured in seven.
Karl Dehesa chipped in five points as the Wilkins crew won the P100,000 cash prize.
Pasig rode the hot shooting of Munzon, who drilled 10 points built on five deuces in the bridesmaid finish for Pasig, which is coming off of a quarterfinal stint in the Poitiers Challenger in France last week.
Balanga survived VetHealth Delhi 3BL, 21-20, in the semis, while Pasig arranged the date with a conquest over Phenom Basilan, 17-7, in the other bracket.
Delhi's Kiran Shastri annexed his dominance in the Two-Point Shootout with a fourth straight title, while Jebb Bulawan snapped David Carlos' four-peat bid to win the Slam Dunk Competition.
Balanga 21 - Pasaol 8, Santillan 7, Dehesa 5, Orizu 1.
Pasig 17 - Munzon 10, Statham 6, Ababou 1, Pavlovic 0.