Zamboanga Valientes MLV stunned the highly favored Sydney Supersonics, 17-14, in the final on Saturday to bag its fourth straight title in the Champions League Basketball (CLB) 3×3 in Australia.
Proving their 8-6 victory over the Supersonics, a 2-time CLB champion and one of Australia’s strongest 3×3 teams, in the preliminary stage was no fluke, the Valientes showed poise and cohesion in the thrilling final to clinch the Champions League Basketball Hamilton 2021 crown in Hamilton, Victoria.
Skipper Eric Miraflores, a former Valientes mainstay in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, sustained his fine form from the preliminaries, hitting clutch baskets and issuing timely assists to stretch Zamboanga’s victory run and enhance its legacy in Australia 3×3.
The Valientes, backed by Gaisano Capital and Smart, earlier ruled the 3×3 Christmas Street Hustle in Canberra, the CLB 3×3 in Bendigo, and the CLB 3×3 Portland Opens, a feat that earned them recognition from the Zamboanga City Council headed by Mayor Beng Climaco on February 9.
Bucking the absence of go-to-guy Ping Concepcion and acting coach Junie Navarro, who are both in the Philippines to prepare the Valientes for the upcoming NBL-Pilipinas season, Zamboanga MLV opened up its campaign with a 15-8 conquest of Fades for the Babes, followed by the 8-6 shocker over the Supersonics and a 15-6 conquest of the Tech Wool Turkeys.
In the semifinals, the Valientes, co-owned by Michael Venezuela, thwarted the Melbourne Magic, 15-12, to forge the title duel with the Supersonics.
Sans Concepcion, Miraflores took charge and got plenty of help from 6-foot-10 Sudanese-Australian Duom Dawan.
Venezuela, filling in for Navarro’s roles, provided the support and inspiration as the Valientes continued their climb in the “Land Down Under” 3×3 basketball.