MANILA, Philippines—Jorey Napoles rallied Cavitex to a thrilling 21-20 victory over TNT to finish its six-leg campaign in the PBA 3×3 Second Conference Season 2 on a high note Sunday.
Napoles scored the Braves’ last four points including the corner deuce over Almond Vosotros to cap a mighty comeback and clinch the team’s first back-to-back leg championship.
The former Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 member raised his index finger and waved to the crowd watching at the Robinsons Place Antipolo Extension shortly after draining the game-winner for the P100,000 prize money.
The come-from-behind win gave the Braves, who trailed by as many as 12-6 midway in the championship game, a huge momentum going to the conference grand finals slated on Saturday at Robinsons Town Hall in Malabon.
It likewise avenged Cavitex’s loss to TNT in the Leg 3 finals.
Napoles finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while the trio of Bong Galanza, Dominick Fajardo, and Chester Saldua each had four points in a complete team effort for the boys of coach Emman Monfort.
“Laro lang kami. Alam namin lamang sila, pero hindi kami gumi-give up,” said Napoles afterwards.
“Hindi pa kami nananalo sa kanila. Ngayon, naka-upset. Bawing-bawi, at back-to-back pa,” Fajardo added.
The loss was worth P50,000 for the Tropang Giga of coach Mau Belen, who were led by Vosotros with 12 points, while Samboy De Leon added seven.
Vosotros moved TNT on the hill, 20-17, after a split of his two foul shots, but Napoles was quick to retaliate with a deuce that made it a one-posession game.
And when the Tropang Giga went for the clincher, Napoles saved the day for Cavitex, blocking the potential game-winner of Vosotros to force a turnover and pave the way for his title-clinching basket.
In the battle for third place, Platinum Karaoke had another podium finish following a 17-13 victory over J&T Express.
The team of coach Anton Altamirano bagged P30,000 this time after winning the title in Leg 4 and finishing runner-up to Cavitex in last week’s Leg 5.
TNT and Cavitex arranged their rematch after disposing of their respective semifinal opponents.
The Braves turned back J&T Express, 15-8, while the Tropang Giga, who missed out on the playoffs the previous leg, edged Platinum Karaoke in a low-scoring game, 11-8.
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