PIONEER Pro Tibay completed its Cinderella story in the PBA 3x3, turning back Sista Super Sealers, 12-10, to win the Second Conference grand finals on Wednesday.
The Pro Tibay led right from the get-go, and then survived a late charge by the Super Sealers to seal the deal in front of their boisterous fans who trooped to the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The title was worth P750,000 as Pioneer became the first guest team to win the grand finals of the standalone tournament.
Making the championship special for the team was the presence of Pioneer Pro Tibay owner and chairman John Spakowski II.
Gian Abrigo and Christian Rivera finished with four each, while Robin Rono and Carlo Escalambre both with two for Pioneer, which needed to go through the pool play before clinching a berth in the playoffs of the season finale.
"Hindi biro yung pinag-daanan namin," said Pioneer coach Lester Del Rosario, noting the team needed to beat title favorite Limitless App in the opening round of the playoffs to advance in the semis.
"Sabi ko lusutan lang natin yung Limitless then after that tingnan natin kung saan tayo dadalhin,"
The Pro Tibay went through two overtime game to reach the finals. They beat the Appmasters, 16-14, on the game-winning basket by Abrigo in the quarterfinals, and then leaned on another game-winner by Rono in the semis, 16-14, against Barangay Ginebra.
By the time they met the Super Sealers for the championship, its confidence was already over the roof.
"Nakita ninyo naman hanggang finals dikitan pa rin. Ibig sabihin walang madali sa 3x3. Kung gusto nila, yun ang makakakuha," said Del Rosario,
Sista got six points from Jan Jamon as the Super Sealers settled for the P250,000 runner up purse.
Barangay Ginebra salvaged third place earlier with a 21-16 win over TNT.
Pro-bound Jolo Go had a game-high 11 points for the Kings, whose 5-on-5 team just retained the PBA Governors Cup crown last week.
Ginebra took home P100,000.
Meanwhile, TNT guard Almond Vosotros emerged as conference scoring champion for the second straight time, taking home P30,000
Ginebra (21) - Go 11, David 5, Villamor 4, Serrano 1.
TNT (16) - Vosotros 8, De Leon 5, Javier 2, Acuno 1.
Pioneer (12) - Abrigo 4, Rivera 4, Rono 2 Escalambre 2
Sista (10) - Jamon 6, Manlangit 2, Gabawan 1, Mocon 1
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