By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Meralco Bolts got a huge lift from Negrense guard Jeff Manday to score a 19-18 victory over the TNT Triple Giga in the finals of the PBA 3×3 Season 3 Third Conference at Ayala Malls Fairview Terraces on Tuesday afternoon, January 16.
The former Colegio de Sta. Ana de Victorias standout erupted with 12 points, highlighted by 4-of-6 shooting from long distance to secure the Bolts’ sixth PBA 3×3 leg championship.
Alfred Batino and Joseph Sedurifa backed up Manday offensively with three markers apiece, while JJ Manlangit accounted for one point for the Patrick Fran-mentored Meralco crew.
The Bolts were dominant in the championship game as they surged to a 19-13 advantage behind the conversions of Manday, but the Triple Giga clawed their way back to cut the deficit to 18-19.
The Triple Giga still had a chance to snatch the victory and the championship from the Bolts in the final seconds, but Gryann Mendoza’s final conversion did not count as he triggered it after the buzzer.
“It was a total team effort,” Fran, whose crew pocketed a P100,000 cash prize for emerging on top in the leg, said.
Saldua top-scored for the Triple Giga with eight points. Mendoza and Chris Exciminiano each ended with five markers, while Matt Salem failed to score in the finale as they settled for a P50,000 cash prize.
On their way to the championship, the Bolts defeated the NorthPort Batang Pier in the quarterfinals, 11-8, and edged leg 2 champion MCFASolver in the Final Four round, 21-19.
On the other hand, the Triple Giga dumped Terrafirma Dyip, 22-8, in the round-of-eight before eking out a 21-17 come-from-behind semifinals win over the San Miguel Beermen in the semis.
MCFASolver salvaged a bronze medal finish and a P30,000 cash prize as they defeated the Beermen in the battle for third place game, 15-12.
Louie Vigil led the way for the winning team with 10 points./ASC, WDJ