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Brownlee explodes as Ginebra takes 3-2 lead over Meralco in PBA Finals

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Import Justin Brownlee bounced back from his 10-point Game 4 output and dropped 29 in Game 5 to power Barangay Ginebra past the Meralco Bolts, 92-81, in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup Finals on Sunday, October 16 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Brownlee, who was 13-of-20 from the field and had 10 rebounds, helped the Gin Kings move a win away from their first championship in 8 years.

Ginebra nearly collapsed in the fourth quarter as Meralco stormed back and sliced a 21-point deficit to just 5 with under 3 minutes to go.

But Sol Mercado buried a big 3-pointer from the left wing and Brownlee followed that up with another bucket to preserve the win.

"Things kind of came together for us tonight and that's the first time in this series that that's happened where we got a little bit of defense and a little bit of offense together," said head coach Tim Cone.

Japeth Aguilar, who was supposed to be a game-time decision due to an ankle injury but ended up starting in Game 5, scattered 16 points with 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Joe Devance had 11 points while Mark Caguioa and Mercado notched 8 points apiece. LA Tenorio had a quiet 7 points but dished out 8 assists.

"All this does is gives us a lead in the series for the first time and we haven't been very good with leads," Cone admitted. "This is like we're up going into the fourth but it's still very close and it can go either way."

Ginebra shot a total 52% from the field, effectively making up for just a 4-of-9 free throw shooting clip as a team. The Gin Kings never gave the Bolts a taste of the lead.

Best Import Allen Durham was limited to 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting. He tracked down 18 boards and passed out 6 assists.

"We've been trying to throw things at Durham literally every game, something different," Cone explained. "He's so good, he reads what's going on so well that if you stay with one thing he's going to eat you up. And that's not just him, that's also coach Norman (Black). Our whole job this whole series is to keep him unbalanced, try to keep him guessing."

Reynel Hugnatan had 17 while Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome tallied 10 points each.

Game 6 of this best-of-7 series is on Wednesday, October 19.

Scores:

Ginebra (92): Brownlee 29, Aguilar 16, Devance 11, Caguioa 8, Mercado 8, Tenorio 7, Helterbrand 6, Thompson 5, Cruz 2.

Meralco (81): Durham 20, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 10, Newsome 10, Alapag 8, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Amer 4, Nabong 2, Caram 0, Faundo 0.

Quarter scores: 33-19, 54-39, 73-59, 92-81

– Rappler.com