MANILA, Philippines—Cobra Energy Drink returns as favorite when the third leg of the Tournament of the Philippines fires off on Tuesday at the Trace College gym in Los Baños, Laguna.
The Ironmen, fresh from taking the second leg championship in General Santos City, battle the Ascof Cough Busters at 4 p.m. with leg MVP Elmer Espiritu and Pari Llagas leading their bid for a second straight crown.
“This team has been playing with heart,” said coach Lawrence Chongson after his youthful Ironmen rallied from 24 points down to stun the Misamis Oriental Meteors in overtime, 92-85, last Saturday.
The Mandaue Landmasters, a Liga Pilipinas powerhouse, debut against the Treston-Laguna Stallions at 6:30 p.m.
League officials Noli Eala, Perry Martinez, Tommy Ong and Butch Maniego are expected to grace the opening ceremony at 6 p.m.
Idle M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala Cebu amassed 15 points after sweeping the first leg of this joint venture by the PBL and Liga Pilipinas.
The second-running Cobra earned 12 points with a young crew that also includes Rudy Lingganay, Val Acuña and Jorel Cañizares.
Ascof, powered by former PBL Most Valuable Player Vic Manuel and Edwin Asoro, garnered seven points to share third with MisOr.
Treston-Laguna collected six points with a team built around former Asean Basketball League cagers Ricky Ricafuente and Glenn Bolocon.
The Cough Busters, who placed second in the inaugural leg, are also backstopped by Sean Co, Rob Labagala and Raymond Aguilar.
Leg champions pick up 10 points, while the runner-up gets five.
The third placer gets three points and the leg last placer still receives a point.
A sweep merits a two-point bonus aside from the point gained for every won game in the leg.
Jasmine Payo, Philippine Daily Inquirer