THE Uling Roasters-Butuan City are hungry for more as they seek a repeat championship in the fourth leg of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup powered by TM on Tuesday, October 27, at the Inspire Academy in Laguna.
Fresh off hitting the long ball that gave Butuan City the trophy in the third leg, prolific guard Franky Johnson is hungry for more and has another title square in his sights.
"This doesn't mean anything," said Johnson. "We gotta go to the next leg and execute the same thing there."
Butuan City went undefeated in the third leg and displayed the all-around attack that made it a contender right from the preseason of the Philippines' pioneering professional 3x3 league. Now, they have a championship under their belt as well as the league lead in terms of points.
"Of course, this is a confidence-booster for us, but we've been confident since the preseason just from knowing all the hard work we put in," added Johnson. "We prepared ourselves to give ourselves the best shot here. We're all locked in."
All eyes will be on Butuan City if they can continue their momentum in a new group that now includes Bacolod-Master Sardines and Sarangani Marlins in Pool A.
The newly crowned kings are aware of the target they’ll have on their backs, especially from revenge-seeking Family's Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks, re-energized Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards, and upstarts Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors.
"They're a tough team. You saw how they played us in the Finals," said Johnson of the Pasig side went toe to toe with them until the very end. "In this league, we don't underestimate anybody. Everybody is getting better from preseason to now so our mindset is we have to level up too."
The Realtors went from a quarterfinals ending in Leg 1 to a semifinals exit in Leg 2 to a runner-up finish in Leg 3.
They have emerged as a team-to-watch, especially after stunning Zamboanga City, but will have to mix it up in Pool C with upset-conscious Bicol-Paxful 3x3 Pro and Nueva Ecija, which is still waiting for the return of prolific guard Juan Gomez de Liano who suffered a sprained ankle in the first leg.
Zamboanga City's bounce back, meanwhile, will begin in Pool B where it will be challenged by emerging Palayan City Capitals and Pagadian-Rocky Sports.
The fourth leg is the last one before the Grand Finals of the Fiba 3x3-endorsed tournament scheduled for October 30. (JNP)