By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
That’s dominance at its finest.
Despite the tough road and the series of challenges the TNT Tropang Giga had to go through, the prized franchise pulled off another successful conference after bagging its sixth straight PBA 3×3 championship title last November 27, 2023, held at the Ayala Malls Trinoma.
The Tropang Giga erased an early deficit and survived the Meralco Bolts during the grand finals, 21-19, to cap off the PBA 3×3 second conference with another championship.
TNT needed an extra overtime period to fend off the Bolts and banked on the heroics of superstar guard Almond Vosotros who sank the game-winning three-pointer from the top of the key.
With the Tropang Giga trailing by a point, 19-20, and needing a two-pointer to clinch the win, TNT leaned on Vosotros and paid off the trust of his team after knocking down the long trey against the outstretched arms of Alfred Batino.
After drilling the hail mary shot, Vosotros just raised his arms, pointed to the sky, and embraced the loud cheers shouting his name.
It wasn’t an easy matchup for the Tropang Giga as Meralco grabbed an early 1-4 advantage in the first two minutes of the grand finals game.
The Bolts took advantage of their edge at the post and cashed in every post-up play they set. Aside from their inside efficiency, Meralco also had a solid outing from Negrense star Jeff Manday who kicked off the game strong with his quick drives to the basket.
Just when Meralco thought they could sustain their lead, the Tropang Giga began to flip the switch in the remaining five minutes of the ball game as Gryann Mendoza hit timely shots to keep TNT within striking distance.
With 4.4 seconds remaining in the regular period and the score deadlocked at 19-all, Meralco had a chance to win the game but their final attempt was well defended by the Tropang Giga.
Meralco first jumped ahead with the lead at the start of the overtime but Vosotros broke the hearts of the Bolts after drilling the cold-blooded game winner.
The Tropang Giga took home the grand prize of 750,000 pesos while Meralco managed to collect 250,000 pesos as the conference’s runner up.