Barangay Ginebra closed out last night’s Semis do-or-die match with emphasis, 117-92, over the San Miguel Beermen, advancing to the Governor’s Cup Finals for the first time since 2013.
“I’m still a little bit in shock,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. “I had all my losing speeches ready, I didn’t have any winning speeches ready.”
Justin Brownlee led the charge, bagging 26 points and 10 rebounds, but the real story was rookie Scottie Thompson making up for his scoreless Game 4 with a career-high 24-point performance. LA Tenorio and Sol Mercado also managed to step up and deliver during the crucial game, claiming 18 points apiece.
The Gin Kings dominated the first quarter, 33-12, eventually working their way up to a 25-point lead before SMB’s Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter responded with an astonishing 24-0 run in the second. By the time the Beermen had fans thinking they were going to give Ginebra a run for their money, their luck ran out as quickly as it arrived
Sadly for the Beermen, it wasn’t to be; Brownlee and Tenorio showed their chops on defense, making up for Greg Slaughter’s absence by successfully double teaming June Mar Fajardo.
By the third quarter, the Gin Kings were back on solid ground, closing the quarter 81-53, maintaining a double digit lead through to the end for the win. The looks of joy on team Ginebra’s faces said it all in the final moments before the final buzzer sounded: The Gin Kings were on their way to the Finals.
“After that loss in Game Four, I thought we didn’t have a chance to win Game Five. But the guys came through with an incredible effort.” Cone told media after the game. “It’s nice because it was a such a redemptive win, we got redemption from the last one.”
PBA fans will have a chance to see how far the road to redemption can go towards ending the Gin Kings’ eight-year title drought when they face off against first-time finalists Meralco Bolts this Friday in Game 1 of the Governor’s Cup Finals.
Image source: pba.inquirer.net