MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra avoided the upset ax and clinched its playoff incentive in the PBA Governors’ Cup after outlasting Terrafirma, 109-104, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Wednesday, March 8.
Justin Brownlee came alive in the fourth quarter to save the Gin Kings from the jaws of defeat, exploding for half of his game-high 38 points in the period as the defending champs claimed their fifth straight win to improve to 8-2.
Brownlee also finished with 6 assists and 5 blocks in an all-around effort that helped Ginebra become the second team to earn the win-once advantage in the quarterfinals after league-leading TNT (8-1).
The Gin Kings also banked on prolific performances from Christian Standhardinger, Jamie Malonzo, and John Pinto to hack out the victory.
Pinto drained a gutsy three-pointer with two minutes left that broke a 112-112 deadlock, while Malonzo flushed home a dunk inside the last 15 seconds for the final tally after a Brownlee layup gave Ginebra a 107-104 edge.
“They came and played very tough. We knew they were going to come in and play tough even though it was pretty much non-bearing for them. But they still played for their pride,” said Brownlee.
Standhardinger, the newly crowned PBA Press Corps Player of the Week, once again posted all-around numbers of 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Malonzo chalked up a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, Pinto delivered 9 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, while Scottie Thompson contributed 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Jordan Williams engaged Brownlee in a scoring duel with 35 points on top of 10 rebounds and 3 steals as he kept the Dyip competitive in a game which fans expected to a lopsided affair.
Williams led all scorers at the end of the third quarter with 23 points, allowing Terrafirma to grab a 79-78 lead going into the final salvo.
His offense still clicking, Williams scattered 12 points in the fourth quarter, but he missed a crucial layup with 45 seconds remaining that would have cut their deficit to a whisker after Brownlee made it 107-104.
Malonzo then sealed the win for the Gin Kings by blowing past Andreas Cahilig and slamming down the two-handed dunk.
Juami Tiongson and Eric Camson tallied 18 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss as the Dyip ended the conference on a seven-game skid and finished with a 2-9 record for 11th place.
Barangay Ginebra 109 – Brownlee 38, Standhardinger 23, Malonzo 16, Thompson 13, Pinto 9, Gray 7, Pringle 3.
Terrafirma 104 – J. Williams 35, Tiongson 18, Camson 11, Gomez de Liano 8, Calvo 7, Cahilig 7, Mina 7, Daquioag 3, Cabagnot 3, Ramos 3, Gabayni 2, Ferrer 0, Alolino 0.
Quarters: 26-24, 52-48, 78-79, 109-104.
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