CEBU CITY – Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Riga of Latvia survived Antwerp in a thrilling finale, 21-19, to bag the title of the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters 2022 on Sunday night here at SM Seaside City.
Nauris Miezis turned out to be an unstoppable force, helping his Latvian team to avoid a terrible collapse as he scored the last seven points including the game-winning free throw with 4.8 seconds left to keep the win.
After leading by two or three points in the early going, Riga found itself trailing 14-17 when Belgian Thibaut Vervoot took charge. But Antwerp couldn’t stop Miezis’ explosiveness up to the endgame.
“I think I am born for this moment,” Miezis said during the post game interview, leading the world’s No. 4 ranked squad in winning the $40,000 top prize. “That was a tough game — always against Antwerp.”
Miezis, the 2020 World Tour Most Valuable Player, led the Latvians with 10 points and three rebounds to take home also the Most Valuable Player trophy.
“At the last minute, we took the game into our hands. We are happy that we won.”
Karlis Lasmanis scored six points while Edgar Krumins and Agnus Cavars merged for five points for Riga, who now earned its second World Tour stop title this season after conquering the Montreal Masters last September.
Vervoort led Antwerp with seven points and four rebounds in the defeat as the team from Belgium fell short of winning its second World Tour stop this season after ruling the Debrecen Masters last August.
Meanwhile, Piotr Grabowski emerged as the king of the Cebu Masters Slam Dunk Competition after beating Philippine bet David Carlos in the final. The high flyer from Poland bagged home USD 4,000 in the victory.
Vervoort, on the other hand, was crowned as the best marksman after winning the Shoot-out Contest. He fired 14 points as he beat Cebu Chooks’ Mac Tallo, Ulaanbaatar’s Steve Sir, and Chico Lanete of Manila Chooks.