October 16, 2023

PBA 3X3: New-look teams try to steal show from favorites

NEW-LOOK teams and a debuting guest squad with familiar faces seek to steal the show from the favorites as the PBA 3x3 Season 3 Second Conference Leg 1 kicks off Monday at Ayala Mall Circuit Makati.

MCFASolver Tech Centrale makes its first appearance in the three-a-side league with a crew composed of veterans TH Tumalip, Nico Salva and Yutien Andrada plus Fil-Canadian big man Brandon Ramirez.

Barangay Ginebra brings back just one member of the cast that won two legs in the previous conference in Ralph Salcedo, who this time teams up with JJ Espanola, Nichole John Ubalde and Lean Vincent Martel with old partners Ralph Cu and Kim Aurin now in the 5 on 5.

Perennial contender San Miguel Beer parades a virtually fresh group composed of seasoned Ken Bono, John Apacible, Jaypee Belencion and Monbert Arong.

But heavyweights like TNT, Cavitex and Meralco field are practically intact core in the race for opening honors in the mid-season conference.

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The Triple Giga, who captured their fourth straight conference championship last August, reassemble Ping Exciminiano, Samboy de Leon and Gryann Mendoza, who will join forces with Matt Salem.

Top gun Almond Vosotros is listed as reserve in Leg 1 along with new acquisition Chester Saldua, replacement for Lervin Flores who has been called up by TNT's quintet for the Commissioner's Cup.

Bannering the Braves are Tonino Gonzaga, Marion Magat, Jorey Napoles and Bong Galanza, the core group of their two leg wins and runner-up honors in the previous conference.

For the Bolts, who came off a podium finish in the First Conference Grand Finals, it's the tested cast of Alfred Batino Joseph Sedurifa and Jeff Manday with JJ Manlangit.

A 13-game bill marks the conference-opener, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

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Top seed Cavitex, No. 6 Pioneer, and No. 7 Blackwater duke it out in Pool A; No. 2 TNT, No. 5 SMB, No. 8 NorthPort and No. 11 MCFA clash in Pool B; and No. 3 Ginebra, No. 4 Meralco, No. 9 Terrafirma and No. 10 Purefoods collide in Pool C.

The Top 2 teams in Pool A and the Top 3 in Pools B and C will advance to Tuesday's KO rounds, where P100,000 awaits the leg champion, P50,000 for the runner-up and P30,000 for the third placer. (OL)