Brownlee, Kings rally past Hotshots
Barangay Ginebra overcame a scrambling start and a 17-point deficit in the second period, making a dramatic turnaround in the final half for a 116-103 win over Star that assured the team of an outright playoff entry in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
The Hotshots dominated in the first half with an efficient game but the Gin Kings hit a good rhythm in the third and turned things around en route to notching a sixth win in two starts.
Blazing through the second half to the delight of their huge cheering crowd, the Kings caught up with the Mahindra Enforcers at second place, now just half-game behind the frontrunning TNT KaTropa Texters (6-1).
They took a 12-day rest before returning into action versus the Enforcers on Sept. 9 with 7-foot-1 behemoth Greg Slaughter lkely to be back in harness.
“We’re a little shell-shocked on how they came out early, and it took us a while to deal with that shock,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“We felt good about ourselves trailing by only eight at the half. Bt the third, we broke their spirit and that carried through to the end,” Cone added.
Ginebra really turned the tables on Star in the second half and sent the Hotshots reeling with a sixth loss against a lone win.
Almost everyone came through for the Kings in the last two quarters of play, leading to a mammoth 30-point turnaround that carried the team to a fifth win in their last six outings.
“Justin (Brownlee) hit big shots all night long,” said Cone making special mention of their import who sizzled with a game-high 38 points.
Japeth Aguilar tossed in 21 markers while Sol Mercado and LA Tenorio contributed 14 and 13, respectively, in the largest output Ginebra made in a game this conference.
Mark Caguioa, Jervy Cruz, Scottie Thompson and Dave Marcelo had their contribution in their second-half siege.
Cruz beat the final buzzer in the third on a conversion underneath the basket then scored the first three buckets in the fourth to touch off their own breakaway.
Earlier, Aguilar, Brownlee, Thompson and Tenorio teamed up in bristling run that got Ginebra ahead at 70-66.
The Hotshots were super efficient in the first half, limiting themselves to just three errors and hitting at a 56-percent clip to enjoy a 58-50 lead at the turn.
They led by as many as 17 at 49-32 before Brownlee sparked a decisive run to get the Kings to within eight at halftime.
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