PBA Governors' Cup

Ginebra turns back NLEX anew to inch closer to Governors’ Cup finals

Delfin Dioquino
Ginebra turns back NLEX anew to inch closer to Governors’ Cup finals

ONE MORE WIN. Christian Standhardinger and Barangay Ginebra are a win away from another PBA finals appearance.

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Barangay Ginebra once again overcomes a double-digit deficit against NLEX to seize a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinals

MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra moved on the cusp of a return trip to the finals of PBA Governors’ Cup after a 104-94 win over NLEX at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, March 25.

Justin Brownlee once again led the way with 32 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks as the Gin Kings overcame a double-digit deficit anew to seize a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinals.

Ginebra also drew prolific performances from its locals, particularly John Pinto, who keyed their comeback from an 11-point hole in the second quarter with a string of big shots.

The Road Warriors enjoyed a 37-26 lead in the second quarter before Pinto scored all of his 10 points in a tide-turning 23-10 run as the Gin Kings nailed a 49-47 lead.

With Brownlee and Pinto at the forefront of their attack, Ginebra ended the first half up 55-49 and never trailed again for the rest of the game.

Scottie Thompson then poured in 8 of his 17 points in the third quarter as the Gin Kings outscored NLEX 27-17 to go into the final salvo sitting on a comfortable 82-66 cushion.

“That was something we could not do early in the conference – we’re playing the third quarter very badly. It is something we talked about we’re trying to correct,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.

“We’ve been doing a better job of it, guys taking a better focus at halftime. And the stakes are much higher, you got to come out.”

Thompson finished with another double-double after grabbing 12 rebounds on top of 3 assists, while LA Tenorio chimed in 15 points and 7 assists.

Christian Standhardinger netted 17 points and 11 rebounds in the win, but most importantly, played a key role in forcing NLEX import Cameron Clark to foul out.

Tallying 15 points and 5 rebounds, Clark left the game with six minutes left after fouling out, with his last two fouls coming against Standhardinger.

Despite Clark exiting, the Road Warriors made a last-ditch attempt to rally behind rookie Matt Nieto, who topscored in the loss with 19 points.

A Nieto and-one play shaved the NLEX deficit to 8 points with less than four minutes remaining, 88-96, but Thompson and Tenorio sank back-to-back three-pointers to seal the win for the Gin Kings.

The Scores

Barangay Ginebra 104 – Brownlee 32, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 17, Tenorio 15, Pinto 10, Devance 7, Tolentino 6, Caperal 0, Ayaay 0.

NLEX 94 – Nieto 19, Clark 15, Chua 12, Alas 12, Rosales 10, Trollano 10, Quiñahan 8, Semerad 3, Ighalo 3, Paniamogan 2, Varilla 0.

Quarters: 24-27, 55-49, 82-66, 104-94. 

– 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.