Limitless became the inaugural winner of the PBA 3x3 after edging Platinum Karaoke, 18-16, in a thrilling finish to the Grand Finals Wednesday, Dec. 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The team of Brandon Rosser, Jorey Napoles, Reymar Caduyac and Marvin Hayes showed no let down after capturing the final two legs and held off a late comeback by Platinum to secure the top purse of P750,000.
All in all, the Appmasters, an affiliate of the Phoenix Fuel Masters, collected P950,000, adding their earnings from their fifth and sixth leg conquests worth P100,000 each.
It was a sweet victory for the Appmasters, who started off placing 11th in the inaugural leg but slowly got their bearings to become grand champion of the PBA’s first halfcourt tourney presented by 1Pacman party list.
Coach Wily Wilson saw his players get accustomed to the brand of play and Limitless began peaking at the right time with triumphs in the fifth and sixth legs to gain an outright slot in the knockout stage of the Grand Finals.
Rosser, Napoles, Caduyac and Hayes, seeded third, posted a 21-15 win over the San Miguel Beermen in the quarters before continuing their dominance over the No. 2 ranked TNT Tropang Giga, who they beat in Legs 5 and 6, with a 21-16 victory.
Limitless was poised to dominate Platinum after gaining a 13-7 lead, only for Platinum to complete its comeback with veteran 3x3 player Karl Dehesa draining a two-pointer to level the count.
With the score at 16-all, Platinum fouled Napoles, who split two foul shots with 32 seconds left for a one-point lead. Dehesa missed a foul-line jumper before Caduyac extended the margin to two for Limitiless.
Chris de Chavez, one of the premier shooters in the 3x3 scene, couldn’t make a game-tying shot from beyond the arc and the Appmasters eventually celebrated their ultimate victory.
Platinum settled for P250,000 for its runner-up finish, falling short of shedding a reputation as the tournament’s “heartbreak kids.”
But Dehesa, De Chavez, JR Alabanza and Yutien Andrada gave themselves a huge chance to win it all as Platinum beat Pioneer, 21-15, in the quarters and Terrafirma, 21-10, in the semis.
TNT, composed of Almond Vosotros, Samboy de Leon, Lervin Flores and Chris Javier, placed third after a 22-14 victory over Terrafirma for a consolation prize of P100,000.
The Tropang Giga, champions of the first leg, were the second-richest team at the conclusion of the event with a total of P360,000.
Vosotros, known for his array of outside shots, was also rewarded with P30,000 for being the top scorer of the series.
Terrafirma’s Dhon Reverente, TH Tumalip, Matt Salem and Jebb Bulawan reached the semis following an upset win over top seed Meralco, 19-15.
The Bolts had to play without their star cager Tonino Gonzaga, whose hamstring injury kept him out of the latter portion of the tourney.