BOCAUE, Philippines (UPDATED) - Barangay Ginebra San Miguel successfully retained their title after imposing their mastery over the Meralco Bolts, 101-96, in Game 7 of the Governors’ Cup finals at the Philippine Arena Friday, October 27.
Before a raucous crowd of 54,086, an all-time attendance high for the PBA, the Gin Kings fended off a late comeback scare from Meralco to clinch their 10th championship in franchise history.
Ginebra led by as much as 20 points in the second quarter, 52-32, before the Bolts made things interesting in the fourth. With Meralco trailing by just 4 points after a Jared Dillinger triple with 47 seconds left in the game, Ginebra milked the clock after Garvo Lanete bricked his three-point attempt, rendering the Bolts's potential fightback for naught.
"I’ve always said we didn’t come to Ginebra to win one championship. We always want to win many championships," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, the league's winningest coach who added his 20th title. "We’re not gonna stop here. We’ve got more to get, more to come up."
LA Tenorio, who led Ginebra with 26 points and 4 assists, was named Finals MVP and is set to undergo surgery on his injured right elbow the following day, Saturday. Despite playing hurt throughout, Tenorio averaged 13.3 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals in the series.
Ginebra import Justin Brownlee had 23 points, 8 boards, 5 assists and 3 blocks in the win, while Scottie Thompson added 14 points, highlighted by back-to-back triples in the third quarter that put Ginebra up 61-41, on top of 9 rebounds and 5 steals.
Ginebra’s frontline of Greg Slaughter, Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar combined for 32 points, 15 boards, 11 assists and 5 blocks.
"The feeling feels the same, even greater maybe," said Brownlee, when asked how he felt about winning a second straight title. "Meralco was a very tough team, they made us work very hard but it just feels great to be back here winning the championship in the Philippines."
Meralco import Allen Durham had another monster performance of 26 points, 24 rebounds, 9 assists and two blocks while Dillinger bounced back from his scoring woes with 20 points but their efforts were not enough as Meralco is denied its first title in franchise history for the second straight year.
Despite dominating the boards, 52-43, Meralco did not have a taste of the lead throughout the game.
The series looked to be a blowout when Ginebra jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Meralco rallied back to win two straight games before Ginebra won two of 3 at Philippine Arena.
Ginebra (101): Tenorio 26, Brownlee 23, Thompson 14, Slaughter 12, Devance 10, Aguilar 10, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.
Meralco (96): Durham 26, Dillinger 20, Hodge 14, Newsome 11, Caram 9, Hugnatan 7, Amer 6, Lanete 3.
Quarter scores: 27-19, 52-37, 81-64, 101-96. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.