PUREFOODS TJ Titans sees a silver lining out of its excruciating runner up finish in the PBA 3x3 Third Conference grand finals.
Top gun Joseph Eriobu credited the Titans' defense and the immediate impact brought by the arrival of veteran Marvin Hayes to the team's highest finish ever in the inaugural season of the standalone league.
Eriobu cited those two factors as the reason Purefoods came close to becoming grand champion of the 3x3 third conference, only to collapse in the end and allowed TNT to run away with the crown behind a thrilling 21-19 overtime win at the Robinsons Place Manila.
"Yung depensa ang nagdala sa amin dito. Kaya kami nakarating dito, bawat isa sa amin nag-sacrifice," said the 30-year-old Fil-Nigerian.
And then there's the 36-year-old Hayes, who just joined the Titans this conference following a successful stint with Limitless App where he was part of the team that won a total of four leg titles and emerged as first conference grand champion.
"Kaya nga siya kinuha ng team namin dahil sa championship experience niya. Ito yun. Nakita naman natin nagbunga agad yung pagkuha sa kanya," said Eriobu of the wingman out of Jose Rizal University.
"Nirerespeto namin si Kuya Marvin sa kanyang championship experience kaya kami nakarating dito."
The Titans were actually near the summit as they led the Tropang Giga, 18-13, inside the final two-minute mark of their title game Sunday.
But their guns suddenly went cold from there as TNT outscored Purefoods, 6-1, to forge overtime, before Gryann Mendoza hit the game-winning deuce as the Tropang Giga took home the P750,000 prize money.
"Masakit talaga," Eriobu admitted.
"Pero breaks of the game na lang yun. Pinagkaloob sa kanila (Tropang Giga) ng Panginoon yun kasi deserved din naman nilang manalo," he added. "Both teams naman fought hard and both teams naman deserved the championship. Pero isa lang ang dapat manalo."
The third seeded Titans went home with the runner up purse worth P250,000. (GR)