By JONAS TERRADO
Meralco denied Limitless a chance to win a second straight crown after pulling off a 17-14 victory to capture the fourth leg of the PBA 3×3 second conference Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alfred Batino sparked the comeback from a 9-5 deficit in the final while Dexter Maiquez made key baskets late as the Bolts became the latest winner of the PBA’s halfcourt tournament by breaking the Appmasters’ myth of invincibility.
Batino, Maiquez, Tonino Gonzaga and Joseph Sedurifa took home the top purse of P100,000 and the 100 tour points as Meralco reigned supreme for the first time since Leg 2 of the first conference.
Limitless’ Brandon Rosser, Jorey Napoles, Reymar Caduyac and Marvin Hayes settled for P50,000 after its streak of 13 consecutive victories since placing third in the second leg came to an end.
The Appmasters previously won all of their three previous leg finals appearances before falling short against the Bolts.
Meralco placed second in Pool C after going 2-1, its lone defeat coming at the hands of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
But the Bolts shook off that setback by rallying to beat Platinum Karaoke, 19-16, in the quarterfinals before prevailing over Leg 2 winner San Miguel Beer, 21-15, in the semis.
TNT’s Almond Vosotros, Reymark Acuno, Martin Gozum and Lervin Flores placed third after a 21-17 victory over San Miguel in the consolation game.
The Tropang Giga fell short of reaching the finals after another heart-breaking defeat to the Appmasters, 20-19, this time in the semis.
All three podium finishers have collected total winnings of P180,000 each with two legs to go in the second conference.