The Pasig Grindhouse Kings sent a clear message to the rest of the playing field after ruling the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 Preseason tournament on Monday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Pasig overcame the veteran-laden San Juan-Go for Gold Knights 21-17 in the finals to be named the inaugural pre-season kings of this FIBA 3X3-sanctioned tournament.
Dylan Ababou led a young cast of Filipino-American prospects to tow Grindhouse past the Mac Cardona-led Knights.
Ababou scored 10 points in the finale, showing that he can still play at a high level despite playing with highly-touted prospects Taylor Statham, Joshua Munzon, and Troy Rike.
“First of all, thankful ako kay Lord na nanalo kami, nakabigay ako ng impact sa team at na-lead ko yung team namin. It’s been awhile since I won the championship, it’s always a good feeling,” said Ababou.
It was a see-saw match between the two teams as Cardona, alongside another PBA veteran John Wilson, bannered San Juan’s attack on the onset as they went ahead early, 13-11.
But Ababou kept Pasig afloat, just enough for the young guns to find their rhythm in the end game.
Statham drained the final blow to the Knights, scoring a short floater to put the game to rest.
“Winning is a habit. Ayaw namin masanay sa talo, kailangan high standard palagi,” Ababou added.
Pasig got into the finals after dropping the Alvin Pasaol-led Bataan Risers 21-15. The Knights, on the other hand, got a breezy 21-9 win over Vigan Baluarte Zoo, which is led by ex-pro Karl Dehesa.
The 12-team tournament will officially kick-off with the six-leg President’s Cup on February 16, at the SM Megamall Event Center.