Almond Vosotros and TNT Tropang Giga survived a late-shooting charge by Tonino Gonzaga to overcome a tough-fighting Meralco unit, 21-19, and win the opening leg of the PBA 3×3 Lakas Ng Tatlo second conference.
The 32-year-old Vosotros had a team-high 10 points and drained the title-clinching 2 that gave the TNT franchise another leg crown in the standalone tournament.
New acquisition Mark Acuno added four, and Samboy De Leon and Lervin Flores with four and three each for TNT, which bagged the top prize worth P100,000.
The victory was a repeat of the similar victory the Tropang Giga pulled off against the Bolts, 21-18, during the maiden leg of last year’s opening conference.
Until Vosotros caught fire, the Tropang Giga trailed the Bolts early on, 3-8.
But the tide was turned when the veteran guard went to work late in the game, enabling TNT to take the lead, 16-15.
Gonzaga however, wasn’t about to let Meralco down as he tied the game at 17.
The playmaker out of Ateneo then engaged Vosotros in a shootout as the two exchanged long 2s to keep the score knotted at 19, before TNT finally sealed the game with another huge outside basket from its top player.
“Luckily pumasok yung tira ni Almond. He’s been missing shots, but I told him to keep on shooting kasi yun ang laro niya. And the right moment will come, papasok din yan,” said TNT coach Mau Belen.
“And what more a right moment can come than the last two points for the championship.”
Gonzaga led all scorers with 11 points for the Bolts, who claimed the runner-up purse of P50,000.
The Tropang Giga and Bolts arranged their title showdown after ousting their respective semifinals opponent.
Meralco edged out top seed Barangay Ginebra, 21-20, while TNT held its ground against Limitless App, 20-19.
The Kings earlier, clinched their highest finish in the three-a-side meet after taking third place by beating the Appmasters, the inaugural grand champion, 21-17.
The third place finish was good for P30,000 for the Kings, who were led by the eight points of rookie player Encho Serrano.