3x3 Basketball

TNT, Uratex to represent PH in world streetball finals in New York

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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TNT, Uratex to represent PH in world streetball finals in New York

CHAMPS. TNT Tropang Giga and Uratex Dream celebrate their title romps in the 3x3 national finals of the Red Bull Half Court tourney.


‘We got tested,’ says TNT coach Mau Belen as Almond Vosotros and the Tropang Giga 3x3 narrowly escape Davao’s Blancas Golden Knights for a spot in the Red Bull Half Court World Finals in New York

MANILA, Philippines – Not even the scorching hot weather in Manila could derail the TNT Tropang Giga’s 3×3 basketball mastery.

Bannered by Almond Vosotros, Lervin Flores, Matt Salem, and Chester Saldua, the TNT Tropang Giga escaped the Davao-based Blancas Golden Knights, 15-13, in the national finals to earn a ticket to the Red Bull Half Court World Finals in New York in October.

“Everyone of us here worked hard for this. Actually, this is our first time to experience this, playing under the sun. No excuses, despite the heat, we kept it all together,” said Vosotros after the grueling streetball finals that rolled off from 10 am until 8 pm in an outdoor halfcourt at the Bonifacio Shrine.

Entering the tournament as a wildcard, TNT ruled all its pool games, before running through a gauntlet of teams from Cebu, Davao, and Manila to repeat as Red Bull 3×3 champs after winning last year’s edition. 

“As soon as we found out that we would play on an open court, we decided to set up our training under hot conditions,” said Vosotros. 

“We trained from late mornings to afternoons to get ourselves ready because we know we will play good teams that want to beat us.”

The Blancas, who won the tournament’s Davao leg, almost spoiled TNT’s quest, draining three consecutive contested jumpers, giving the multi-time PBA 3×3 champions a huge scare. 

Tied at 13, Flores completed a two-point play with under 5 seconds left to salvage the win. 

“I told myself that we really needed to win. We played through the heat in the afternoons, we are the pros here, and we played for Gilas Pilipinas too. We protected our pride,” Flores said. 

For TNT’s longtime 3×3 coach Mau Belen, the tournament was a litmus test unlike anything they have experienced. 

“With these types of tournaments, especially now that it was played on an open court, we got tested on how solid we are as a team,” said Belen, who called the shots for Gilas 3×3 in last month’s FIBA Asia Cup. 

“We did not know who we would face in the quarterfinals or the semifinals, or for the championship, so that is where the fun begins for us. As we grow through battles like these, I see my players grow too for the team,” she added. 

Meanwhile, WPBA champion Uratex Dream will once again carry the Philippine flag in the Red Bull World Finals after ruling the women’s side. 

Uratex entered the quarterfinals of the World Tournament last year, becoming the only Philippine team then to get past the eliminations. – Rappler.com 

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