Jeremiah Gray believes that TNT has yet to play its best even after ruling the maiden leg of the inaugural PBA 3×3 season in dominant fashion.
“I thought we still haven’t played our best basketball yet, and it’s crazy that we ended up coming out 7-and-0,” the Fil-Am cager humbly offered in One Sports’ The Game, Monday. “We still have a lot more we can do to get better.”
The Tropang Giga swept their way to the championship, quite an achievement for a crew that warranted attention heading into the tilt as some wondered if they could emulate the ball club’s success in the 5-on-5 competitions.
TNT first won all of its four assignments in the pool stage, and then took down Barangay Ginebra, Purefoods, and ultimately sister team Meralco in the knockout playoffs to emerge as champs in the FIBA 3×3 Level 4 tourney.
To think that the squad became complete for only about a week before the season began makes the feat all the more impressive.
“Those first few games were really difficult, actually,” admitted Gray, who joined the Tropa late as he had to clear quarantine protocols upon arrival from the States. “I got introduced to the physicality of the 3×3 game.
“But it feels good that we came out undefeated and we ended up winning every game and brought the inaugural championship home with us.”
Gray couldn’t be any happier to have won the chip for head coach Mau Belen, whom he gave utmost credit to for instilling confidence not just to him but for the rest of the crew — Almond Vosotros, Samboy de Leon, and Lervin Flores.
“She prepared us by getting us in great condition. And, just really putting confidence in each and every one of us — she knows how to put confidence in everybody,” proudly said the athletic 6-foot-5 guard.
“It’s just cool that we got to win her the first championship here, give her some wins under her belt. Hopefully, we can keep that rolling in the next leg.”
Still, Gray said that there remains more to be done if TNT wants to become better for the second leg, which begins on Wednesday.
Aside from polishing their chemistry, the 25-year-old pointed out the need to shoot better from the foul line — the Tropang Giga missed free throws in the waning moments of the final that could’ve ended the bout right away.
Vosotros was the one who finished it off with a split with 6.2 seconds left, saving as well the efforts of Gray, who had 11 points in the title bout.
“There’s actually a lot we can improve on, including our chemistry … and of course, improve on our free throws — you saw we missed a few free throws down the final stretch,” said Gray, who finished Leg 1 with 41 total points.
“We’re excited to see what else we can do and just make the game a lot easier for us and figure out how to actually play the 3×3 style of basketball.”