Ginebra thwarts San Miguel’s grand slam bid, enters semis
Barangay Ginebra booked a trip to the semifinals and ended San Miguel Beer’s Grand Slam bid in stunning fashion, 104-84, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals Wednesday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
Justin Brownlee was a handful with 37 points and 12 rebounds with four blocks while also getting a lot of help from the locals.
Joe Devance scored 17 points, hitting four triples, while guards LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson had near double-double efforts and towering big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar added 13 points each.
“Nobody saw that coming. we just played great from start to finish. It was one of those nights for them and it came at a bad time for them,” Ginebra head coach Tim Cone told reporters.
Ginebra, who owned a twice-to-beat advantage as the No. 3 seed, dealt San Miguel its worst loss of the season.
The Gin Kings made it look easy in knocking off the star-studded Beermen, who have the reigning three-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, but Cone said he didn’t feel at ease until Thompson buried a 3-pointer that stretched the lead to 30 with 2:35 remaining.
“It’s never easy. If you look at the score, the only time I felt safe was when we had a 102-72 lead,” Cone said.
“I cant tell you how relieved I am that we’re not playing a knockout game with them.”
The Kings outscored the Beermen, 23-9, in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter capped by a basket by Brownlee for a 97-70 lead.
The game started the way it was expected to be with neither team giving an inch. But Brownlee shifted into high gear and carried Ginebra with him in the second quarter, where he shot 16 points and San Miguel was limited to just nine.
“Our defense really stepped up today. Going into this game that was really our battlecry because we all know the kind of firepower San Miguel has,” said Tenorio, who finished with eight points and 10 assists as he and Thompson outplayed the Beermen’s backcourt duo of Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.
Ross and Cabagnot combined for only 13 points, four rebounds and eight assists.
Thompson tallied seven points, team-high 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Terrence Watson scored 30 points but he failed to step up when SMB needed him most. Fajardo, who is tipped to win his fourth straight MVP award, had 19 points and 22 rebounds with five blocks.
It was only fitting that the last coach to win the Grand Slam prevented history from repeating itself. Cone won two Grand Slams, the first with Alaska in 1996 and the other with Purefoods in 2014.
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