TNT remained consistent with its winning tradition after capturing the title of the first PBA 3x3 leg following a gritty win over Meralco at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on Sunday, November 21.
The champions of the recent Philippine Cup, the Tropang Giga hacked out a 21-18 victory over the Bolts in the winner-take-all finale to complete their unbeaten campaign.
Jeremiah Gray scorched hot with 11 points and hit crucial buckets down the stretch as TNT won all of its seven games in the pool and knockout stages combined en route to taking home P100,000.
Gray came alive late, draining three straight two-pointers to give TNT a commanding 20-17 lead.
However, the title-clinching bucket proved to be elusive as Gray and Lervin Flores muffed their foul shots to keep the comeback door ajar for Meralco.
The Bolts, though, also went cold from the field and scored just a point in the dying minutes, with Almond Vosotros sealing the win for the Tropang Giga off a free throw.
Samboy de Leon backstopped Gray with 4 points, while Flores and Vosotros added 3 points apiece in the win.
It was a landmark win for TNT, which is mentored by Mau Belen, the first female coach in PBA history.
Meralco, composed of Tonino Gonzaga, Joseph Sedurifa, Alfred Batino, and Dexter Maiquez, still raked in P50,000.
Meanwhile, the Purefoods TJ Titans clinched third place and pocketed P30,000 after toppling Platinum Karaoke, 22-16.
Pao Javelona finished with 7 points, including the game-winning long bomb as the Titans stunned tournament favorite Platinum.
Platinum got off to a 3-0 start in the leg only to lose three of its last four games, including a 14-18 semifinals defeat to the Bolts.
The San Miguel Beermen, Terrafirma 3x3, Cavitex Braves, and Barangay Ginebra reached the knockout stage but crashed out of the quarterfinals.
PBA 3x3 action resumes for the second leg on Wednesday, November 24. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.