The Meralco Bolts emerged with the championship of Leg 4 of the PBA 3×3 Lakas Ng Tatlo Second Conference as they edged the Limitless App, 17-14, on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cebuano forward Alfred Batino and Dexter Maiquez found their groove in the stretch run and sparked Meralco to a 12-5 wind-up to complete an upset of the heavily-favored Limitless team that was on a 13-game winning streak before the loss.
Maiquez finished with six points, Batino and Tonino Gonzaga with five each, and Josef Sedurifa had a point to round out the scoring for the Bolts, who bagged the top prize money worth P100,000. It was the second leg title for Meralco, counting the Leg 2 championship it won during the First Conference last year.
“Every leg is a challenge,” admitted Meralco coach Patrick Fran. “Siguro this is God’s will to play in the finals again.
“They’re very tough,” he said of the Appmasters. “Actually lahat halos ng teams are really very hard (to beat) ngayon.”
Limitless App, the champion of the previous leg held a week ago to kick-off its winning streak, was eyeing for another back-to-back leg title just like what it did during the First conference when the team swept the final two stages before claiming the maiden grand finals. And the Appmasters appeared to be on track of doing a repeat as Jorey Napoles hit his stride early on and gave them a 6-4 advantage.
But Maiquez and Batino joined hands to rally back the Bolts at a time the Appmasters’ offense suddenly turned cold.
Napoles finished with six points and guard Reymar Caduyac five for Limitless App, which took P50,000 as runner up purse.
On their way to the championship round, the Bolts got 13 points from Gonzaga in eliminating Jeff Manday and the San Miguel Beermen, 21-15, while the Appmasters again got the better end of their rivalry with TNT Tropang Giga, 20-19, as Caduyac hit two crucial free throws to secure the win.
The Tropang Giga went on and beat the Beermen in the battle for third place, 21-17, behind the 11 of guard Almond Vosotros including the clincher 2.
The tournament takes on another break as the Governors’ Cup semifinals shifts to the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. The leg stage resumes on April 2 at the Big Dome.