The Meralco Bolts atoned for their missteps in the first leg of the inaugural PBA 3x3 tournament after earning the second leg championship off a tense 21-16 finals win against Platinum Karaoke at the Ynares Sports Arena on Thursday, November 25.
The Bolts, runners-up in the league’s opening leg, looked headed for an easy title win on Thursday after firing a huge 13-5 opening salvo in just the first four minutes of the game over the upstart Platinum franchise.
However, 3x3 veterans Chris DeChavez and Karl Dehesa kept their cool, and conspired for a huge 11-5 run to inch within two, 16-18, off multiple deuces and defensive stops.
But Platinum’s improbable comeback was not meant to be, as Joseph Sedurifa closed the game out with three straight points, including the dagger deuce exactly at the two-minute mark.
Apart from Platinum’s scare in the closing moments of the finals, Meralco looked nearly unstoppable in its rise back to the top of PBA 3x3.
After defeating Ginebra, 21-12, in the final pool phase game, and San Miguel, 21-12, in the knockout quarterfinals, the Bolts continued their dominant run by stunning Leg 1 champion TNT with a 21-13 revenge beatdown in the one-and-done semis.
Tonino Gonzaga was a man on a mission against his fellow MVP Group players, as he alone matched their entire scoring output with 13 points in the crucial match.
In the other games of the day, TNT ended Terrafirma’s emotional playoff run without Roider Cabrera off a 21-13 quarterfinals rout thanks to 13 markers from Almond Vosotros.
Cabrera collapsed in the locker room following a series of fast-paced games with Terrafirma on Wednesday and was quickly hospitalized.
Platinum downed the Sista Super Sealers in the quarters as well off a 20-17 win, before clinching its finals spot with a 21-16 win over the Limitless Appmasters.
San Miguel had the most lopsided win of the day after they pummeled the Zamboanga Valientes, 21-9.
The Purefoods TJ Titans showed some promise after blitzing NorthPort, 21-13, but their playoff hopes were quickly shut down after a 22-12 demolition by the Cabrera-less Terrafirma.
Before the heavy-hitting action started, however, the league first offered a moment of prayer for the safety and quick recovery of Cabrera and Purefoods' Val Acuña.
Acuña broke his jaw after butting heads with Platinum's DeChavez in pool play, before Cabrera collapsed in the dugout hours later. – Rappler.com