Ginebra returns to finals, knocks out San Miguel in 5 games
Barangay Ginebra pummeled San Miguel Beer hard in the first and third quarters, and rolled to an emphatic 117-92 triumph to make the PBA Governors Cup Finals before a roaring crowd of over 20,000 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Tuesday night.
Starting both halves with a high-octane effort, the Kings reigned over the Beermen and gained the right to battle the Meralco Bolts in a title duel starting Friday also at the Big Dome.
Two huge quarters – 33 points in the first and 36 in the third – proved to be all Ginebra needed to end long absence in PBA Finals since the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Justin Brownlee churned out a near triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while Sol Mercado and Scottie Thompson both bounced back hard from a scoreless showing in Game Three as the Kings dethroned the reigning champs.
Thompson sparkled with a career-high 24 points and 15 rebounds while Mercado sizzled with 18 markers, including five three-pointers.
LA Tenorio also played big with 18 points, 10 assists and six rebounds while Dave Marcelo and Aljon Mariano put in crucial relief jobs.
Aside from their sterling numbers, Brownlee and Tenorio shone brightly on their double-teaming defense on June Mar Fajardo whom they limited to seven markers.
With over five minutes to go, San Miguel coach Leo Austria started to pull out his core players and took a chance on their reserves to no avail.
After wavering in the face of SMB’s fiery fightback in second quarter, the Kings worked on another vicious salvo in the third and sustained the effort all the way through.
Ginebra led 45-38 at the end of a bizarre opening half marked by a huge salvo by the Kings in the first quarter and an even bigger unanswered run by the Beermen in the second.
The Kings stormed to a 37-12 lead on a 23-to-nothing roll then the Beermen quickly got back in the game, 36-37, on a 24-0 counterattack – the third all-time longest unanswered run in the league.
Thompson and Mercado presided over their early breakaway, combining for 24 points in the opening period.
Then Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter led the way in SMB’s second-quarter fightback, highlighting their blitzkrieg with five three-pointers.
The Beermen battled into the game despite a mere one-point output from Fajardo in the first half.
But there’s no stopping the Kings from blowing the Beermen out in the final half.
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