Cavitex scored its breakthrough in the Philippine Basketball Association 3×3 after toppling one heavyweight after the other on its way to the Leg 2 title of the season-opening conference Sunday at Robinsons Novaliches.
Jorey Napoles and Bong Galanza led the way as the Braves ended a long climb to the summit with a hard-earned 21-19 squeaker over three-leg winner San Miguel Beer in the leg finale.
Napoles, who had a decorated stint with Limitless last season, knocked down the clutch floater against San Miguel Beer to lift the franchise, whose previous best finish was leg runner-up in its only other leg finals appearance since the second stop of last season’s Third Conference.
Former Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 mainstay Napoles finished with seven points to backstop Galanza’s eight in the clincher as Cavitex capped a stellar campaign that saw them take down the Leg 1 runner-up Meralco in the semis, 17-16, and Leg 1 third placer Platinum Karaoke in the quarterfinals, 14-12.
Galanza, Napoles, Chester Saldua and Dominic Fajardo netted P100,000 for this maiden victory.
San Miguel’s Ken Bono, Wendell Comboy, Jeff Manday and Fonso Gotladera, who fought back from an eight-point deficit and even had a chance to steal the win from the two-point area, settled for the P50,000 second place purse.
The Beermen and the Braves set up a duel for leg honors after bringing down the Top 2 teams of last week’s kickoff stage.
San Miguel turned what was anticipated as a slugfest against Leg 1 winner TNT into a one-sided affair as it rolled to a 20-14 in the semifinals.
Wendell Comboy (10 points) and Ken Bono (eight) combined for a sizzling seven two-pointers to spark the Beermen to the wire-to-wire victory touched off by a 14-4 opening.
Cavitex followed suit as it nosed out Leg 2 runner-up Meralco 3×3, 17-16, on the buzzer-beating floater of Napoles.
The Braves sustained the momentum from their gutsy 14-12 upset of Leg 3 third placer Platinum Karaoke in a quarterfinal matchup where they wiped out a four-point deficit with a 7-1 closing barrage.
TNT completed the podium finishers as it beat Meralco in the battle for third, 20-17. The Tropang Giga netted P30,000.