The challenge is now on for Meralco as it tries to go back-to-back in the third leg of the PBA 3×3 wars starting on Friday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Eyes will be on Tonino Gonzaga, Joseph Sedurifa, Dexter Maiquez, and Alfred Batino if they could replicate their golden run from the previous leg, where they dethroned TNT in the semis before taking down Platinum Karaoke in the final of the FIBA level five tournament.
The Bolts are grouped in Pool A, together with Terrafirma, NorthPort, and guest teams Pioneer Pro Tibay and Zamboanga.
Expected to give them the fits are the Dyip and Pioneer as those teams made it to the quarterfinals in Leg 2, although the Batang Pier and the Valientes are coming in hungry following winless campaigns in the last tilt.
Meralco and Terrafirma will face off at 2:00 p.m. to kick off the first day of Leg 3, which features a total of 16 games. The remaining six matches of the eliminations will take place the following day.
Pool B, on the other hand, is bannered by Platinum. The guest ball club is joined by Sista, San Miguel Beer, and Barangay Ginebra.
Except for the youth-laden Gin Kings, Platinum is set to encounter familiar opponents in the Beermen and the Super Sealers, which they both dispatched in the quarters of the first and second legs, respectively.
Leading Pool C, lastly, is TNT, who are looking to reach the mountaintop again after settling for a third-place finish in the previous leg.
The Tropang Giga are with Limitless App, Purefoods Tender Juicy, and CAVITEX, the team who snapped their 10-game winning streak.