By JONAS TERRADO
TNT carried its success from the PBA Philippine Cup into the halfcourt scene and ruled the first leg of the league’s inaugural 3×3 tournament with a 21-18 win over Meralco Sunday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Jeremiah Gray waxed hot behind several two-point shots before Almond Vosotros sealed the deal by sinking the clinching free throw with 6.2 seconds left to complete the Tropang Giga’s dominant run in the two-day event.
Gray, Vosotros, Samboy de Leon and Lervin Flores took home the top purse of P100,000 after the Tropang Giga won all seven games.
The Tropang Giga swept Pool A with four victories before taking down Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 21-14, in the quarterfinals and Purefoods, 20-16, in the semis.
Tonino Gonzaga, Alfred Batino, Joseph Sedurifa and Dexter Maiquez of Meralco settled for runner-up honors and P50,000. The Bolts won all three games in Pool B before eliminating the Cavitex Braves in the quarters, 22-19.
In the semis, Meralco ended the impressive run of the Platinum Karaoke squad of 3×3 veterans Chris de Chavez, Karl Dehesa and JR Alabanza and ex-PBA center Yutien Andrada with an 18-14 triumph.
Purefoods took home third place and P30,000 when Val Acuna, Joseph Eriobu, Pao Javelona and Jed Mendoza beat Platinum, 22-16, in the consolation match.
Platinum made it to the semis after edging out San Miguel Beer, 9-8, in the quarterfinals.
Alabanza broke a 7-all tie in the dying seconds with an open two-point attempt as Platinum ended SMB’s run highlighted by an impressive showing from Jeff Manday, a sixth round pick in this year’s draft.
Action resumes Wednesday, Nov. 24 with the second leg of the first conference, with all 13 teams divided into new groups.