TNT further cemented its status as the most successful squad in PBA 3×3 after conquering the Second Conference of Season 3 on Monday night.
But the Triple Giga do not in any way intend to rest on their laurels, for they are gunning at an extremely rare feat following another golden finish.
“This one is special because this gives us the chance to repeat at a Grand Slam,” head coach Mau Belen said moments after their thrilling 21-20 overtime win versus Meralco in the Grand Final at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.
The youthful tactician admitted that it’s a goal she set for TNT for the Second Conference, keen on replicating their historic feat in Season 2.
There, her Triple Giga achieved the PBA 3×3’s first-ever Grand Slam. Now they’re on pace to pull off a back-to-back ‘treble,’ which, if accomplished, would be their seventh consecutive championship as well.
The flagship MVP franchise has now won two conferences of the ongoing season. It beat CAVITEX in the First Conference Grand Finals, and then conquered the Bolts in the Second Conference’s last dance.
“Sabi ko sa kanila that’s my ultimate goal for this conference, na bigyan natin ‘yung self natin ng chance na ulitin ‘yung Grand Slam,” said Belen, whose team has been the league champions since the Season 2 Third Conference.
“Kasi ‘pag ‘di namin nakuha ‘tong Second Conference, then it doesn’t matter if makuha namin ‘yung Third Conference,” she added.
Win the Second Conference, they did, and Belen believes that it is the toughest one they’ve won so far — from injuries to key cogs such as Samboy de Leon and Matt Salem, to plotting a great escape at the hands of Meralco in the finale.
Things appeared bleak for TNT when it went down 14-12 late in regulation, but still pushed the match into OT before Almond Vosotros, time and again, sank a deep deuce from the top to clinch the crown and the P750,000 top prize.
“Probably the hardest,” she said. “I don’t understand what I was feeling even before overtime. Meralco kept on coming back and coming back … it was anybody’s ballgame, but my boys kept it together. Luckily, we got them.”
Still, TNT wants more, refusing to get satisfied despite the many accolades it has achieved as the team wants to perfect the craft as much as it can.
“Siguro, we’re just very hungry on learning talaga,” said Belen. “If I can share a secret about our team, ‘yun ‘yung hunger namin na matuto and i-perfect ‘tong sport na ‘to na natutunan naming mahalin.”