By Adrian Stewart Co
TNT Tropang Giga stretched their winning ways to 3×3 after ruling the first leg of the PBA 3×3 inaugurals on Sunday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Led by Jeremiah Gray, Almond Vosotros, Lervin Flores, and Samboy de Leon, the Tropang Giga ruled the opening leg with a 21-18 beating of sister-team Meralco Bolts in the finals.
Both teams engaged in a tight battle before Gray knocked down three consecutive outside hits to surge the Tropang Giga ahead, 20-17, with under two minutes in the game.
The Tropang Giga, however, struggled to close out the championship game as the 21st point became elusive with Gray, Flores and De Leon all missing their free throw attempts.
The Bolts made its last push on a jumper by Dexter Maiquez and even had a chance to tie it on a Tonino Gonzaga attempt before the Tropang Giga wrapped up the match on a game-winning free throw by Vosotros.
Gray starred with 11 points, De Leon finished with four points, while Flores and Vosotros had three each for the Tropang Giga, which earned the P100,000 for topping the Level 4 FIBA 3×3 tournament.
Gonzaga spearheaded the offense for the Bolts with eight points, Joseph Sedurifa scored seven markers, while Maiquez and Alfred Batino had two and one points, respectively.
Meanwhile, Bacolodnon Nico Paolo Javelona nailed a game-winning shot as Purefoods TJ Titans outdueled Platinum Karaoke in a shootout, 22-16, to secure a third-place finish.
Holding to a 20-16 advantage, Javelona converted on the game-winning shot from beyond the arc to finish the game with still over three minutes remaining.
Joseph Eriobu led the way with eight points, Javelona and Jed Mendoza added seven markers apiece for the TJ Titans, which took home P 30,000 cash for their third place finish./ASC, WDJ