By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Negrense hoops sensation Jeff Manday showcased his deep offensive bag on the biggest stage of the PBA 3×3 and helped the Meralco Bolts nab the Leg 3 Third Conference championship title last January 16, 2024, held at the Ayala Malls Fairview Terraces.
The former superstar of the Colegio de Santa Ana de Victorias collegiate team pulled off one of his best scoring displays of the conference and erupted for 12 big points against their rival squad TNT Triple Giga, 19-18.
From the get-go, it was Manday who established Meralco’s consistent flow of the offense and was unstoppable everytime he drove to the basket.
Aside from his signature drives, Manday also kept his efficient shooting percentage from the outside and denied TNT of completing their mini-offensive spurts.
Manday looked to seal the deal after draining a long shot that extended Meralco’s lead to six points, 19-13, but the resilient Triple Giga squad clawed their way back in the final three minutes of the championship game.
From trailing by six points, TNT was close to pulling off a miraculous comeback after snowballing their way to a 5-0 run to trim their deficit to just a point, 19-18.
With only 25 seconds left, former PBA 5×5 veteran and two-way player Ping Exciminiano delivered for TNT after burying a clutch trey to help Triple Giga inch to within a point.
However, TNT would miss its final attempt while the Bolts escaped a fiery rally from their multi-champion rival.
With the win, Meralco took home the grand prize of 100,000 pesos while Triple Giga was rewarded with 50,000 pesos.