Defending champion Barangay Ginebra steamrolled skidding Phoenix, 105-92, to regain a share of the top spot in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday night at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The surging Gin Kings turned a close duel into a blowout in the third quarter, where outscored the Fuel Masters, 32-18.
“We’re a little frustrated at halftime. We were playing a little sloppy and weren’t as efficient as we wanted to be,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, whose squad chalked up its fifth straight victory and tied idle Meralco in first place at 5-1.
“And what has been our MO this conference, we broke away in the third quarter. We were able to get some stops and get the lead. That was pretty much our story.”
Justin Brownlee and Joe Devance combined for half of the Kings’ output in the pivotal third period as they nearly matched the production of the entire Fuel Masters.
Brownlee was everywhere, finishing with 24 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks while Devance scored nine of his 14 points in the third quarter.
The third quarter was the turning point but one of the major keys that allowed the Kings to dominate was their size with Brownlee, Devance, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter.
Aguilar had 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks while Slaughter added 14 points and 11 rebounds as the two also made it hard for Phoenix’s stand-in import Brandon Brown to operate.
Flaunting its huge frontline featuring the 7-foot Slaughter, Aguilar and Brownlee, Ginebra controlled the rebounding department, 76-47.
Brown, who was coming off a 49-point explosion on an efficient 18-of-27 shooting from the field, was held to just 26 points on an 8-of-23 clip with seven turnovers.
Phoenix, which absorbed its first loss to Ginebra this season, dropped its seventh setback in a row.