Purefoods outdueled Meralco, 21-16, to rule the fourth leg of the PBA 3×3 inaugurals, Sunday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Jun Bonsubre got wide open and nailed the 100,000-peso shot from deep with 1:27 left to play as the Tender Juicy Titans bagged home the championship in their first-ever Finals trip in the Level 5 FIBA 3×3 Tournament.
“Nag-focus lang ako,” offered the 6-foot-4 forward, who became the unlikely closer for his team as he rarely pulls the trigger from beyond the arc.
Pao Javelona starred for Purefoods with 10 points as he got fired up by an apparent non-call by the referee approaching the game’s midway mark.
The 6-foot floor general became more aggressive and was responsible for giving his side a 13-8 advantage with 5:05 to go.
And when the Bolts managed to knot things up with exactly 3:30 remaining, he was there to break such just seconds later with a two-pointer.
The former NU guard followed it up with a shot from point-blank, and Bonsubre converted his own to push their lead to 19-15 with 2:15 on the clock.
“Gusto talaga namin manalo,” said Javelona. “Kahit anong mangyari, sabi namin focus lang — bad calls man or turnovers, basta next play agad.”
Joseph Eriobu, the top scorer of the first and third legs, supplied five points. Bonsubre and Jed Mendoza each added three markers.
It was truly an impressive run for Purefoods, the second seed in Pool C who beat Pioneer (20-15) and TNT (21-11) en route to the finals.
The Titans’ victory continued the trend of a new champion being crowned in every leg, as they foiled the bid of Meralco to become two-time titlists.
It could be remembered that the Bolts emerged as the kings of Leg 2 in what was a perfect atonement for their runner-up finish to TNT in the first stop.
Tonino Gonzaga, Alfred Batino, and Joseph Sedurifa had five points each as Dexter Maiquez added one in the loss, where they pocketed P 50,000.
The MVP franchise was the no. 1 team in Pool B. It beat CAVITEX (21-16) and Platinum Karaoke (21-13) to book its third finals appearance.
Meanwhile, The Tropang Giga settled for another third-place finish by outlasting Platinum, 21-20, to bag home PHP 30,000.
Samboy De Leon trickled in the game-winning bucket with 2:06 left as they completed the comeback from a 16-10 deficit.
Almond Vosotros had 12 points to lead TNT, who’s been adjusting nicely with Martin Gozum, the team’s replacement for the injured Jeremiah Gray.
Purefoods 21 – Javelona 10, Eriobu 5, Mendoza 3, Bonsubre 3.
Meralco 16 – Gonzaga 5, Batino 5, Sedurifa 5, Maiquez 1.