NUEVA ECIJA, BUTUAN STIRS UP TENSION DURING PRESEASON MATCH
Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards and Uling Roasters-Butuan went head-to-head in a heated quarterfinals match in the Chooks-to-go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup preseason tournament.
Despite being an exhibition match, this was not taken lightly by the two contenders as a new rivalry sparked up in the Calambubble at Inspire Sports Academy.
The intensity was high between the two as both teams exchanged physical blows taunting their opponents.
Juan Gomez de Liaño drew an unsportsmanlike foul early in the game as the youngest player in the game persistently attacked Franky Johnson and eventually, Jai Reyes joined the clash.
National team pool members Gab Banal and JR Alabanza got into a heated argument which resulted in a technical foul on the latter.
The action did not stop there as a technical foul was called on Reyes for defending against Chico Lanete and resulted in the latter being hip-checked out of the bounds.
A total of 26 fouls were recorded in the match, 17 for Butuan and nine for Nueva Ecija.
For the Rice Vanguard, it was their way of showing they can compete with the country’s top players.
“I can tell you, we are going to compete. You saw it naman sa preseason games namin especially against Butuan,” said playing team manager Reyes.
Reyes, after the game, shared that the two were able to shake it off later.
“Yung physicality is there talaga every game pero all good sa lahat ng players pagbalik sa rooms,” he said.
On a different note, Johnson viewed it as a wake-up call for the squad.
“My team loves the physicality and that’s just how we all play. We play with a lot of heart,” he said.
“Now once we combine our heart and dog mentality into becoming a better smarter team, we are going to be super dangerous,” he added.
The eighth-ranked 3×3 player in the country hopes in getting the victory back from the Nueva Ecija.
“Good game. We have no comment on it really. We know what we have to do to come back,” he stated.
“We’re looking forward to the rematch.”
Rice Vanguards secured its victory against the Uling Roasters, 21-10, advancing to the semis battle against Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga.
Nueva Ecija suffered defeat from Zamboanga with 21-14 on the boards and the winner advancing to the finals.