February 18, 2023

Blackwater and Meralco sweep day 1 of pool play action

Souped-up Blackwater and injury-hit Meralco made a 2-0 sweep of pool action to barge into the quarterfinals of Leg 6 of the PBA 3x3 Season 2 Third Conference unscathed Saturday at Robinsons Place Manila.

The Red President, energized by the arrival of former Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 mainstay Ricci Rivero defeated NorthPort, 21-19, then pulled the rug from under Leg 5 winner Platinum Karaoke, 22-16, to top Pool A.

Platinum later secured its quarters stint as Pool A runner-up via a 20-16 dispatching of the Batang Pier (0-2).

It was a rougher road to Pool D No. 1 for the Bolts, who after hurdling opening opponent Pioneer Elastoseal, 15-11, had to overcome the sidelining of stalwart Alfred Batino in edging San Miguel Beer, 21-20.

Batino hurt his knee on a collision with SMB's Leo de Vera early in the match, forcing Bryan Santos, Jeff Manday and JJ Manlangit to fend for themselves against their full-strength opponents.

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Manlangit tied the count at 20-all then Manday delivered the clincher via a scoop shot versus SMB's Tonino Gonzaga.

The result eliminated the Leg 1-ruling Beermen (0-2) from the KO rounds set for Sunday while handing Pioneer (1-1) the second berth. The Katibays gained from their 21-16 romp over SMB in the morning sessions.

Cavitex and TNT, meanwhile, topped the field in Pool B and C, respectively, after tiebreak off similar three-way ties at 1-1.

The Braves scored a bounceback 18-15 victory over Barangay Ginebra then took No. 1 with 35 tiebreak points versus the Gin Kings, who had 34.

The Tropang Giga beat J&T Express, 21-15, and lost to Purefoods via the same scoreline but emerged on top with 36 tiebreak points. J&T took No. 2 with 36 versus the Titans' 21. (OL)