PBA Governors' Cup

Brownlee takes over in comeback win as Ginebra sweeps San Miguel to reach finals

Delfin Dioquino

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Brownlee takes over in comeback win as Ginebra sweeps San Miguel to reach finals

MAGIC BROWNLEE. Justin Brownlee steers Barangay Ginebra to another finals appearance.

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Justin Brownlee delivers the biggest plays down the stretch as Barangay Ginebra becomes the first team in PBA history to beat San Miguel in a best-of-five series

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra advanced to the finals of the PBA Governors’ Cup in never-say-die fashion, hacking out a thrilling 87-85 comeback win to sweep San Miguel at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, March 29.

Justin Brownlee delivered the biggest plays down the stretch and finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals as the Gin Kings earned an unprecedented 3-0 victory over the Beermen in their semifinals affair.

Brownlee nailed a clutch shot with 40 ticks left and assisted Christian Standhardinger for the game-winning layup that made Ginebra the first team in PBA history to beat San Miguel in a best-of-five series.

Acting as decoy, Brownlee sized up Cameron Clark and attacked the basket to suck in the defense before he dished it out to Standhardinger, who banked the short stab that broke an 85-85 tie with four seconds remaining.

Brownlee also shone on the defensive end as he did enough to make Marcio Lassiter miss the potential game-tying jumper at the buzzer, completing a comeback win where the Gin Kings trailed by as many as 18 points.

“He is going out there to make the winning play,” said Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone of Brownlee. “That is what makes him special.”

Standhardinger bucked a poor shooting display that saw him miss 9 of his 14 field goals and chalked up 14 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals to further solidify his case for the Best Player of the Conference plum.

Up by as big as 62-44 in the third quarter, the Beermen still led 82-75 with under four minutes left off three Lassiter free throws before Standhardinger went on a personal 5-0 blitz to cut the deficit to 80-82.

Rookie guard Jeremiah Gray drained a triple afterwards to give Ginebra its first lead since the opening period, 83-82, and Brownlee extended the run to 10-0 with a contested shot over two defenders for an 85-82 edge.

But Lassiter quickly erased that Gin Kings lead by sinking a three-pointer over Gray, setting up a frantic finish inside the final 26 seconds.

Scottie Thompson added a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds for defending champion Ginebra, which reached the Governors’ Cup finals for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

Gray fired 13 points with 6 rebounds and Jamie Malonzo chalked up 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals as all five Gin Kings starters scored in double figures.

Cone praised his wards for staying the course, admitting that there came a point when he thought about playing a series-extending Game 4.

“I was looking for them to stop. I was looking for them to kind of like give up a little bit and they never did that,” Cone said.

Clark tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in the loss as he got sent home by Ginebra for the second straight season after he and NLEX bowed out to the same team in the Governors’ Cup semifinals last year.

The loss ended a once-promising campaign for San Miguel, which clinched 10 of its first 12 games of the conference, including three straight since star big man June Mar Fajardo suffered a knee injury.

Lassiter scored 13 points, knocking down a pair of three-pointers that moved him past former Beermen gunner Dondon Hontiveros for solo No. 6 in the all-time three-pointers made list as he now has a total of 1,139 treys.

CJ Perez contributed 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals for San Miguel, while Chris Ross recorded 5 steals to become just the fourth player in PBA history to have at least 1,000 steals in a career.

Ross joined legends Bernie Fabiosa, Ramon Fernandez, and Johnny Abarrientos in the exclusive club, becoming the first player in 20 years to achieve the feat.

The Scores

Barangay Ginebra 87 – Brownlee 22, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 14, Gray 13, Malonzo 12, Pinto 4, Pessumal 3, Mariano 2, Pringle 0.

San Miguel 85 – Clark 16, Perez 14, Lassiter 13, Cruz 12, Enciso 11, Tautuaa 6, Herndon 6, Ross 5, Manuel 2.

Quarters: 17-16, 38-50, 58-70, 87-85.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.