Sep 18, 2022

Napoles nails winner as Cavitex survives SMB fightback, claims first leg title

CAVITEX scored its breakthrough in the PBA 3x3 after toppling one heavyweight after the other on its way to the Leg 2 title of the season-opening conference Sunday at Robinsons Novaliches.

Jorey Napoles and Bong Galanza led the way as the Braves ended a long climb to the summit with a hard-earned 21-19 squeaker over three-leg winner San Miguel Beer in the leg finale.

Napoles, who had a decorated stint with Limitless last season, knocked down the clutch floater against SMB to lift the franchise, whose previous best finish was leg runner-up in its only other leg finals appearance since the second stop of last season's Third Conference.

Former Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 mainstay Napoles finished with seven points to backstop Galanza's eight in the clincher as Cavitex capped a stellar campaign that saw them take down the Leg 1 runner-up Meralco in the semis, 17-16, and Leg 1 third placer Platinum Karaoke in the quarterfinals, 14-12.

Galanza, Napoles, Chester Saldua and Dominic Fajardo netted P100,000 for this maiden victory.

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San Miguel's Ken Bono, Wendell Comboy, Jeff Manday and Fonso Gotladera, who fought back from an eight-point deficit and even had a chance to steal the win from the two-point area, settled for the P50,000 second place purse.

The Beermen and the Braves set up a duel for leg honors after bringing down the Top 2 teams of last week's kickoff stage.

SMB turned what was anticipated as a slugfest against Leg 1 winner TNT into a one-sided affair as it rolled to a 20-14 in the semifinals.

Wendell Comboy (10 points) and Ken Bono (eight) combined for a sizzling seven two-pointers to spark the Beermen to the wire-to-wire victory touched off by a 14-4 opening.

Cavitex followed suit as it nosed out Leg 2 runner-up Meralco 3x3, 17-16, on the buzzer-beating floater of Napoles.

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The Braves sustained the momentum from their gutsy 14-12 upset of Leg 3 third placer Platinum Karaoke in a quarterfinal matchup where they wiped out a four-point deficit with a 7-1 closing barrage.

TNT completed the podium finishers as it beat Meralco in the battle for third, 20-17. The Tropang Giga netted P30,000.