CEBU — Pasig remains the bar in the domestic 3x3 pro circuit.
Taylor Statham buried the game-clinching deuce as Gold's Gym Pasig downed Phenom Basilan, 21-15, to rule the first leg of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Patriot's Cup, presented by Coca-Cola on Sunday at SM Seaside City.
The Fil-Am forward drilled the two-pointer from the left wing to cap off his 13-point performance with 2:09 to play.
"I feel like this conference, with the imports, it brings a little more talent. It's really exciting," said Statham.
Joshua Munzon and Nikola Pavlovic both had four points, as Dylan Ababou completed the squad which took home the P100,000 cash prize.
The Kings recaptured their old glory after bowing out in the group stages of the Huaqiao International Kunshan Challenger and in the Tinkoff Moscow Challenger.
"Honestly, I think this is what our team needed, to get back on our winning ways," said Statham.
It wasn't easy, though, especially against the newcomer Basilan.
Holding a tight 12-10 lead, Pasig went on a 5-2 stretch, with Munzon dishing out a between-the-legs pass to Statham that made it a 17-12 affair with less than three minutes remaining.
The Kings also had to survive world no. 14 VetHealth Delhi 3BL, 21-16, in their semifinal assignment.
There's no shame on the part of Phenom Basilan, which rode the hot hands of Marcus Hammonds who fired 11 points in the championship.
Franky Johnson dropped two, as Roosevelt Adams added a pair before going out with a sprained right ankle with 4:36 left.
The Steel shocked the Alvin Pasaol-led Wilkins Balanga, 21-19 in the semis.
The second leg is on Sunday at SM Fairview Events Center.
The top team after the five legs will book a ticket to the Jeddah Masters from October 18 to 19, while the runner-up will clinch a spot in the Xiong'An Challenger in China from August 23 to 24, which will serve as a qualifier for the Los Angeles Masters.
Pasig 21 - Statham 13, Munzon 4, Pavlovic 4, Ababou 0.
Basilan 15 - Hammonds 11, Johnson 2, Adams 2, Rike 0.