Rashad McCants took charge in the endgame as Trilogy edged out 3 Headed Monsters, 51-46, to win the inaugural BIG3 3-on-3 basketball league championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
With the teams knotted at 46-all, McCants drained five straight points to lead Trilogy to the first crown and a 10-game sweep of the league.
McCants bagged the Finals Most Valuable Player plum as the current free agent pumped in 22 points, including the crucial baskets, in 24 minutes of action.
James White chipped in 16 markers on 4-of-5 shooting from the field for the Ric Mahorn-mentored squad.
Mahmoud Abdu-Rauf paced 3 Headed Monsters with a game-high tying 22 points while Rashard Lewis and Kwame Brown added 10 markers apiece.
Abdul-Rauf waxed hot in the early goings to lift 3 Headed Monsters ahead, 16-5, but McCants and Al Harrington combined forces to snatch a 25-24 halftime lead for Trilogy.
The two teams battled toe-to-toe in the final half until McCants came up with his late game heroics as he sank three free throws and a two-point basket.
Meanwhile, Ghost Ballers demolished Power, 52-39, to bag the third place finish.
Ricky Davis chalked a game-best 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting clip while Mike Bibby and Ivan Johnson logged 13 markers apiece for Ghost Ballers.
Jerome Williams came through with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds while DeShawn Stevenson scored 16 points highlighted by four triples as Power settled for fourth place.
Following a successful staging of the league’s inaugural season, BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube challenged the players to improve for the next season.
“I think our players have to get better. We caught them off guard this year,” said the rapper in an interview with Russ Bengtson of Complex.
“Next year they should be ready. We have a resume now, pretty much, so other players who were kind of waiting on the sidelines, hopefully they’ll see this as cool and they’ll want to be a part of the BIG3,” he added.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA