John Galinato lifts EGS Aneda Builders to Chooks-to-Go Sinulog Cup title

National University standout John Martin Galinato coolly sank two free-throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the EGS Aneda Builders a heart-pounding 81-80 win to capture the championship in the Chooks-to-Go Sinulog Cup on Monday night at the Cebu Coliseum.

K&L Marketing had the inside track on winning the title as they led, 80-77, after a booming triple by veteran point guard, Harold Cortes, with 43.7 seconds remaining.

However, EGS kept their hopes alive after Galinato was fouled by Eloy Poligrates on his way to the basket. Galinato sank two free-throws to pull EGS to within one, 80-79, 35.4 ticks left in the match.

EGS actually had a shot at the lead as they regained possession, but Jerome Napao issued a bad pass to Justine Dacalos in transition to give the ball back to K&L. However, EGS’ defense held strong on the very next play as they kept K&L’s players away from the ball, prompting Cortes to throw an errant inbound pass that sailed out of bounds with 3.1 seconds remaining in the game.

On EGS’ last offensive, they got the ball to Galinato on the left wing. The feisty guard then dribbled to his left before rising up to take a three-pointer. However, Poligrates was once again whistled for a foul as he grazed Galinato’s arm while the latter was shooting the triple.

Galinato then made the first two free-throws to shove EGS in front before missing the third to peg the final tally.

"It was an epic finale to a great tournament," said Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas, whose company funded the tournament organized by the Sinulog Foundation. "It was an excellent showcase of what basketball in the south is.

"We hope that Coach Chico (Lanete) can find the player he needs to add to our pool through this tournament," the godfather of Philippine 3x3 added.

Galinato finished with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting and was named the Finals Most Valuable Player. Dacalos added 18 points, four boards, three assists, and two steals to help EGS bag the trophy and the P150,000 cash prize.

Patrick Cabahug led K&L with 19 points, while Joshua dela Cerna had 18 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

The third-place honor went the way of DH25-RUS after they nipped UNBL, 73-71. Jaybie Mantilla led the way for the winning side with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.