TNT faces tough battle in Season 2

Lervin Flores and TNT brace for a tough battle in Season 2 of the PBA 3×3 First Conference. | Photograph COURTESY OF PBA

TNT finds itself bracketed with two top contender teams as it bids for a second straight title in Season 2 of the Philippine Basketball Association 3×3 First Conference on Saturday.

The Tropang Giga have been grouped with Purefoods TJ Titans and Cavitex Braves in Pool A as action in Leg 2 of the standalone tournament kicks off at Robinsons Place in Novaliches.

The 3×3 team of the telecommunication franchise is just a week removed from winning the opening leg against Meralco in overtime, 21-19, for their sixth title overall dating back to Season 1.

The quartet of Almond Vosotros, Ping Exciminiano, Samboy de Leon, and Lervin Flores are back for the Tropang Giga, so are JR Alabanza, Chris de Chavez, Ronnie de Leon, and Joseph Eriobu for the Titans.

The Braves, meanwhile, elevated Dominic Fajardo to take the place of Tzaddy Rangel and team up with Jorey Napoles, Chester Saldua, and Bong Galanza after the team failed to reach the knockout stage the previous leg.

The Titans and Braves actually clash early on as their 11 a.m. game sets off another heavy 12-match schedule in the first day of pool play.

The Tropang Giga then meet the Titans at 12:40 p.m. before taking on the Braves at 2:20 p.m.

Meralco, meanwhile, heads Pool B together with NorthPort and San Miguel, Pool C is composed of Platinum Karaoke, Pioneer Elastoseal, and Barangay Ginebra, while newcomer J&T Express leads Pool D together with Blackwater Red President, and Terrafirma.

Several teams likewise upgraded their roster in the hope of reaching the quarterfinals and have a shot at reaching the podium, where the champion gets P100,000 in prize money.

The Express, who reached the semis in their maiden leg but lost to Platinum in the battle for third, activated Jeric Teng for Robin Rono, Pioneer Elasto Seal tapped Clint Doliguez as its sixth man and takes the place of Jose Escalambre, Terrafirma brings in Sandy Cenal in lieu of Jebb Bulawan, and Blackwater Red President replaced Alfrancis Tamsi for Hubert Cani.

Others who tweaked their rosters are Barangay Ginebra, which elevated Mikey Cabahug and Ralph Salcedo for Clark Bautista and Denice Villamor, and NorthPort Batang Pier, who will play Patrick Jamison and Gwyne Capacio for the duo of Wilson Baltazar and Dexter Zamora.

The top two teams in each group will advance in the knockout stage to be played Sunday.

Runner up team receives P50,000, and third placer P30,000.

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