Justin Brownlee made his presence felt throughout the game to help Barangay
Ginebra score a rousing 92-81 victory over Meralco in Game 5 on Sunday to move from within a win of securing the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup crown.
After establishing only 10 points in Game 4, Brownlee piled up 14 of his 29 points in the first quarter on 13-of-20 shooting in the field to along with 10 rebounds to lead Ginebra in earning a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven championship series.
“We played more of a complete game. You don’t play a lesser team in the finals, you play a great team. A great team with their back to the wall is hard to beat,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the post game interview.
Forward Japeth Aguilar tallied 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the field and eight rebounds, while Joe Devance added 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mark Caguioa and Solomon Mercado finished with eight points apiece, while LA Tenorio contributed seven points and eight assists also for Ginebra.
Import Allen Durham piled up 20 points, 18 rebounds and six assists to lead the Bolts, while Reynel Hugnatan had 17 points. The Gin Kings, relying on their accurate overall shooting in the opening half, zoomed to a 33-19 lead in the first quarter behind Brownlee’s 14 points before maintaining their cushion at the half, 54-39, through a good defensive job against Durham.
Meralco’s best import Durham, who averaged 29.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 17 games, was surprisingly limited to just four points on 1-of-5 shooting in the field.
Ginebra’s 25-of-38 overall shooting in the field (66%) was too much for Meralco’s 15-of-37 (41%) in the first half. At the same time, the Gin Kings showed aggression at the half by getting more rebounds (23-13), assists (16-10), steals (3-1) and blocks (3-1) than the Bolts.
Aguilar and Brownlee sustained their impressive performance in the third period scoring six points each while the rest of the Ginebra crew were playing solid defense to keep a 73-59 cushion at the start of fourth quarter.
Meralco threatened Ginebra in the payoff period narrowing the gap to 81-87 after Chris Newsome’s lay-up with only 1:09 left in the game. But the Gin Kings were able to hold their ground in the last minute mark to escape with a win in front of the 22,196 crowd.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Roland “Bato” dela Rosa watched the game for the second time since the start of the series. Dela Rosa, known for being a long time Ginebra fan since the time of Robert Jaworski Sr., went to the press room and shared some moments to the media.
GINEBRA 92 – Brownlee 29, Aguilar 16, Devance 11, Caguioa 8, Mercado 8, Tenorio 7, 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.
Quarterscores: 33-19, 54-39, 73-59, 92-81