Ginebra averts meltdown, beats Rain or Shine to close in on finals spot
Barangay Ginebra blew a big lead before holding off Rain or Shine, 75-72, to take a 2-1 lead in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals Saturday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Gin Kings let a 25-point lead slip away as the top-seeded Elasto Painters came to within two, 74-72, after a quick basket by Reggie Johnson off a baseline inbound pass with 9.8 seconds left.
Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio had the chance to put the game out of reach but he uncharacteristically split his free throws, leaving the door open for Rain or Shine but James Yap missed two deep 3-pointers before time ran out.
“What a brilliant comeback by Rain or Shine. Coach Caloy (Garcia) got them ready at halftime,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. “We just made a whole bunch of mental mistakes and just held on by our fingernails.”
“I think we got a little bit too Justin reliant in that first half. He had 25 points we just thought it was going to continue to be like that,” Cone added. “But they picked up the defense and picked up the physicality and we struggled with it and we gotta be smarter with that for Game 4.”
Game 4 is on Monday, 7 p.m., at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Brownlee set the tone for the Kings with 25 points in the first half, two more than the entire Rain or Shine team which trailed by 23 entering the third quarter. He finished with 44 points on top of 15 rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Johnson led the Painters with 13 points and 22 rebounds. Johnson struggled mightily in the first half where he missed all of his six shots from the field before atoning for it in the last two quarters.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone after Gin Kings escape Rain or Shine for 2-1 semis lead
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, July 21, 2018
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