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Meralco, Platinum forge title battle

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA Tonino Gonzaga delivers 13 points to power Meralco past TNT Tropang Giga, 21-13, in the semifinals of the PBA 3x3 tourney.

Meralco and Platinum Karaoke forged a winner-take-all title battle after overcoming their respective foes in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) 3×3 Lakas ng Tatlo second leg yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Bolts’ quartet of Tonino Gonzaga, Joseph Sedurifa, Alfred Batino and Dexter Maiquez barged its way into the finals after dethroning first leg champion TNT Tropang Giga, 21-13, in the semifinals.

Gonzaga caught fire in the endgame as he finished with 13 points and two rebounds to send the Bolts to their second consecutive finals appearance of this inaugural tourney that aims to prepare Filipinos for the international 3×3 stage.

Joseph Sedurifa added five points while Dexter Maiquez and Alfred Batino combined for four markers.

Prior to that, Meralco pulled off a 21-12 domination of San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.

Platinum, meanwhile, bounced back from its dismal semifinal campaign over the weekend to forge a final battle with the Bolts, which is being held at press time.

The quartet of Karl Dehesa, Yutien Andrada, Chris De Chavez and JR Alabanza trounced Sista Super Sealers, 20-17, in the quarterfinals, followed by a 21-16 victory against Limitless in the Final Four.

Dehesa drilled timely shots and topscored Platinum with six points and two rebounds.

Injuries, however, plagued several teams in this edition that has a total of P100,000 cash prize for the champion, P50,000 for the runner-up and P30,000 for the third placer.

PBA veteran Mac Cardona of Zamboanga Valientes begged off in the second day of the tourney due to a shoulder injury he sustained in the elimination round.

Val Acuna of Purefoods was also sidelined after suffering a broken jaw while Mark Olayon of NorthPort had groin injury and Roider Cabrera suffered a heart attack at the end of Wednesday’s hostilities.

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