Cebu City – Olympic veterans Nauris Miezis and Karlis Lasmanis lifted Riga of Latvia to a 21-19 victory over top seed Antwerp of Belgium in a battle of Tokyo Olympics rivals to earn the FIBA 3×3 Cebu Masters title Sunday night at the SM Seaside Mall in Cebu City.
The 31-year-old Miezis unloaded 10 points, including seven in the last 74 seconds, to steer the Latvians to the win and the top purse of $40,000.
The 6’3” Miezis, one of the four players in the team which won the gold medal for Latvia in the Tokyo Games, sank the winning free throw with 4.8 seconds left.
“It’s crazy. We always fight for the gold,” said Miezis, who hopes to get a slot with Lasmanis in the Paris Olympics again.
Miezis said he picked up the pace after fatigue overcame his teammates.
Lasmanis had six points for the Latvians, who lost the lead in the last 1:10 off another Tokyo Olympian foe, Thibaut Vervoort, 17-14.
Two two-pointers and a drive from Miezis restored the lead back into Riga’s hands, 19-17, with 43.8 ticks left.
The Belgians, who settled for the $30,000 purse, fought off Ulaanbaatar, 21-11 in the semis, to get into a finals match with Riga.
Lasmanis converted a couple of driving shots to lead Riga to 21-18 beating of Amsterdam, and set a finals clash with Antwerp.