Apr 28, 2022

Pioneer gets right break on way to 3x3 summit

THE one week rest came in handy for Pioneer Pro Tibay.

Coach Lester Del Rosario admitted the break that came in between following the temporary suspension of the PBA 3x3 Second Conference grand finals somehow was a contributing factor to the championship run of the team.

The Pro Tibay was set to meet top seed Limitless App in the knockout stage of the conference finale last week after surviving pool play when a fire suddenly hit the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The incident later led to the suspension of games and rescheduled to an April 27 playdate at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Del Rosario said it gave him enough time to study and plan out against the Appmasters, winner of the First Conference grand finals and owner of four leg titles.

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"Actually, big help (one week rest). Napag-aralan ko yung Limitless," noted the son of the late legendary coach Aric Del Rosario.

The Pioneer coach recalled one game in which the Appmasters held them to just seven points, although with every leg, the gap between the two teams get closer that in another game, Limitless already had to lean on a clutch shot by Marvin Hayes to escape with a victory.

Del Rosario knew with the right break, it would only be a matter of time before Pioneer gets even with the team considered as the best in the 3x3 circuit today.

Following the resumption of the grand finals, the Pro Tibay proved they can compete with the Appmasters in the knockout stage, stretching their quarterfinal duel into overtime, before Gian Abrigo hit the game winner as Pioneer knocked off the title favorites, 16-14.

That was good enough for the Pro Tibay to boost their confidence of winning the championship and the top prize of P750,000 altogether.

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"Siyempre, defending champion yun, e," said Del Rosario of his team's win over Limitless App.

Pioneer elevated their game further, beating Barangay Ginebra in overtime, 16-14, in the semis, and then turned back Sista Supe Sealers in the finals, 12-10, to emerge the standalone tournament's second grand winner.

Looking back, that one week respite and beating a champion team in Limitless App were breaks that aided Pioneer Pro Tibay to finally reach the summit.

"Sabi ko lusutan lang natin yung Limitless, then after that, tingnan natin kung saan tayo dadalhin," said Del Rosario. (RG)