By Adrian Stewart Co
Nico Paolo Javelona steered Purefoods TJ Giants to a 21-16 win over Meralco Bolts to rule the fourth leg of the PBA 3×3 inaugurals Sunday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Bacolod City-native guard made his presence felt in the finale with consecutive points to give TJ Titans a 13-8 edge. The Bolts, however, answered back to tie the score at 14-all.
Joseph Eriobu then broke the deadlock for Purefoods with an inside hit before Javelona connected three straight points for an 18-15 edge. Meralco made its last push at 16-19 but Antonio Bonsubre connected a two-pointer to seal the crown for the TJ Titans.
Javelona finished the match with 10 points, Eriobu added five markers, while Bonsubre and Jed Mendoza finished with three points each to give Purefoods its first-ever PBA 3×3 leg trophy.
“Gusto talaga namin manalo,” said Javelona, who previously played for NorthPort Batang Pier in the PBA 5-on-5. “Kahit anong mangyari, sabi namin focus lang — bad calls man or turnovers, basta next play agad.”
Tonino Gonzaga, Alfred Batino and Joseph Sedurifa had five points each as Dexter Maiquez added one point for the Bolts, which ruled the second leg of the PBA 3×3 two weeks ago.
For clinching the leg 3 championship of the Level 4 FIBA 3×3 tournament, the TJ Titans earned the P100,000 cash prize, while the Bolts settled for P20,000 runner up cash prize.
The TJ Titans finished on top of Pool C with 2-1 win-loss slate as they defeated TNT Tropang Giga (21-19) and the Batang Pier (21-9) before being beaten by Terrafirma Dyip (18-15).
The TJ Titans were tested in the quarterfinals round against Pioneer Pro Tibay before pulling off a 20-15 victory followed by a repeat 21-11 domination over the Tropang Giga in the semis.
Meanwhile, The Tropang Giga settled for another third-place finish by outlasting Platinum Karaoke, 21-20, to bag home P30,000. Almond Vosotros had 12 points to lead TNT’s come-from-behind win./ASC, WDJ