Sweet payback, indeed.
Meralco booted TNT out of the PBA 3×3 Leg 2 title discussion by way of a 21-13 victory in the semifinals, Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Tonino Gonzaga finished it off through his foul shots with 1:49 left as the Bolts got back on the same team who tormented them in the maiden leg’s final.
The lefty guard finished with 12 points as his squad will have the opportunity to bag home the crown this time against either Limitless or Platinum.
Meralco seized control early and held a three-point lead, but Jeremiah Gray helped the Tropang Giga tie the game up at 10-all.
Dexter Maiquez, though, put the Bolts up again through a shot underneath. And that’s when his teammates began to catch fire.
Gonzaga and Joseph Sedurifa nailed back-to-back two-pointers in a fiery 6-0 run to push their lead to six, 17-11, with 2:14 remaining.
Samboy De Leon stopped the bleeding for TNT but Gonzaga was quick to respond with another deuce to put Meralco two points away from the win.
And it would also be the veteran playmaker who would wrap it up, as he calmly made his free throws off a Lervin Flores foul.
De Leon led TNT with five points in the loss that dropped the Tropang Giga match to the third-place game against the loser of Platinum and Limitless.
Meralco 21 – Gonzaga 12, Sedurifa 5, Maiquez 3, Batino 1.
TNT 13 – De Leon 5, Gray 4, Vosotros 3, Flores 1.