MERALCO leads five other teams which booked berths in the Leg 5 quarterfinals of the PBA 3x3 First Conference after the first day of pool play at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay.
The Bolts lost no time securing back-to-back wins in Pool C over Barangay Ginebra, 18-13, and Pioneer Elastoseal, 19-14, to advance in the next round.
With big man Alfred Batino leading the charge, Meralco eyes to complete a three-game sweep of the pool play with a win over winless Wilcon Depot (0-2) in Tuesday's morning session prior to the quarterfinals.
TNT, Pioneer Elastoseal, Barangay Ginebra, Northport, and last week's leg winner Cavitex also joined Meralco in the knockout stage.
Playing minus top gun Almond Vosotros, the Triple Giga topped Pool B with a 2-1 slate after winning their first two games against Purefoods, 15-14, and Blackwater 21-14, only to lose against San Miguel, 20-18.
Pioneer Elastoseal meanwhile, booked the second quarterfinals berth in Pool C behind its 2-1 record on victories over Wilcon Depot, 18-11, and Barangay Ginebra, 21-19, and a 19-14 loss to the Bolts.
Despite a 1-2 record in Pool C, Ginebra is already a cinch to make it to the next round as it owns the head-to-head encounter against Wilcon, 21-15, even if the guest team manages to beat Meralco in its final outing.
In Pool A, Cavitex, Northport, and Terrafirma all finished with similar 1-1 records, but the Braves and Batang Pier advanced after garnering the most number of points scored at the end of pool play.
The Batang Pier tallied 38 points, Braves with 36, and Dyip with 34.
The remaining two quarterfinal berths will be completed after the crucial game between Purefoods and Blackwater, both tied with 1-1 slates in Pool B.
The winner between the Titans and Smooth Razor will advance outright, while the loser ties San Miguel (1-2) for the final ticket to the next round. The Beermen though, both lost to Purefoods (21-19), and Blackwater (19-17).
Champion of Leg 5 receives P100,000, runner-up P50,000 and third placer P30,000.
Previous winners this conference include Barangay Ginebra (Legs 1 and 2), TNT (Leg 3), and Cavitex. (RG)