The TNT Tropang Giga reigned supreme in the inaugural leg of the PBA 3×3 tournament, capturing the title over the Meralco Bolts, 21-18, Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Jeremiah Gray, Almond Vosotros, Lervin Flores, and Samboy de Leon were not only named champions of the league’s very first 3×3 leg, but they also took home the prize money worth 100,000 pesos.
The final game between TNT and Meralco lived up to the hype, entering the championship round as the only undefeated teams. Meralco’s four-man group of Tonino Gonzaga, Alfred Batino, Dexter Maiquez, and Joseph Sedurifa bulldozed their way to the finals, including a stunning win over Platinum Karaoke in the semis.
Gray caught fire in the title bout, ending up with 11 points for TNT. De Leon chipped in four points, while Flores and Vosotros added three each.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair from the get-go with the action escalating in the final four minutes. Gonzaga and Sedurifa, who combined for 15 points, kept Meralco in the game. But it was all Gray late in the game, hitting three straight 2-pointers to give TNT a 20-17 lead.
Gray had a chance to win the game but missed his free throw. A Maiquez basket allowed Meralco to inch closer as TNT continued to miss their chances at the line. Vosotros finally sealed the win after splitting his charities with 6.2 seconds remaining.
Meralco didn’t end up empty-handed, receiving a runner-up prize worth 50,000 pesos.
In the battle for third place, Purefoods TJ Titans triumphed over Platinum Karaoke, 22-16. The TJ Titans earned bronze and 30,000 pesos.
TNT’s 3×3 team, handled by the first-ever female PBA coach Mau Belen, went unbeaten throughout the two-day leg, winning all seven games. They swept the pool competitions, defeated Ginebra in the quarterfinals, and outlasted Purefoods in the semis before winning it all against Meralco.
The first PBA 3×3 conference will have a total of six legs and culminate in a grand final. Through this initiative, the SBP and the PBA hope to give opportunities to more players, grow the 3×3 game in the country, and build a road map for the 2024 Paris Olympics.