Platinum Karaoke lived up to its lofty billing as a tournament favorite with a strong showing in the PBA 3×3 Leg 1 opener, Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The squad of halfcourt game veterans Karl Dehesa, Chris De Chavez, and JR Alabanza with Yutien Andrada swept all their assignments to sit atop Pool A with a clean 3-0 slate, locking as well a berth in the knockout playoffs tomorrow in the Level Four FIBA 3×3 tournament.
One of the league’s three guest teams, the Anton Altamirano-mentored club began its campaign with a 21-7 dismantling of Mac Cardona and Zamboanga.
De Chavez, one of the top-ranked players in the country during the last Olympic cycle, spearheaded the assault with 13 points to become the first double-digit scorer of the tilt.
Platinum continued its winning ways with a 21-16 win over Limitless App in what could be the most thrilling game of Day One. Both squads figured in a shootout before De Chavez nailed the game-winning deuce.
They went on to beat Val Acuña and Purefoods by way of a 21-14 decision to conclude their day, with Andrada finishing it off through a free throw.
Platinum will face TNT Tropang Giga tomorrow at 2:40 p.m. in the final match of Pool A, which will be a battle for the number one seed.
The flagship MVP Group franchise is also carrying a 3-0 card. It started the day with a 21-9 drubbing of the App Masters, where Almond Vosotros showcased his gunslinging ways anew as he finished with 12 points.
The Tropa followed it up with a streak-busting 21-14 win over the Tender Juicy Titans before wrapping up Day One with a 21-18 nipping of Valientes that saw Samboy De Leon rise with 10 points, including the final blow from deep.
Both Platinum and TNT are headed to the next round together with Purefoods, who began the day with two wins before dropping their last two.
Meanwhile, Meralco appears to be one of the two teams from Pool B that has a clear shot of reaching the quarterfinals.
The Bolts started out with a 22-17 conquest of Sista behind the eight points of former Rain or Shine bruiser Dexter Maiquez, before earning a 21-16 win over Terrafirma thanks to Alfred Batino’s six as their big men took center stage.
Meralco leads the group with a 2-0 record, followed by the Dyip (1-1), Barangay Ginebra (1-1), and the Super Sealers (0-2).
San Miguel Beer, lastly, is on top of Pool C at 2-0 in a group affected by the forfeiture of games of guest team Pioneer ProTibay.
The team owned by Pioneer Adhesives, Inc. was not allowed to play, as one of its players did not receive clearance from the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) to see action as he failed to secure medical clearance.
So, that gave CAVITEX and NorthPort easy wins, since both the Braves and the Batang Pier were scheduled to meet them.
It remains to be seen if Pioneer will be able to get that GAB clearance in time for its match with the Beermen tomorrow at 1:25 p.m.
SMB will be carrying the momentum it earned from rousing victories against NorthPort (21-17) and CAVITEX, which saw the unheralded Jeff Manday torch the Braves with 13 points to steer his side to the 21-17 win.