• Ginebra dethrones SMB, returns to finals

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    HARD COLLISION June Mar Fajardo of SMB engages Justin Brownlee of Ginebra in a rebound battle in the do-or-die match of the PBA Governor’s Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

    HARD COLLISION June Mar Fajardo of SMB engages Justin Brownlee of Ginebra in a rebound battle in the do-or-die match of the PBA Governor’s Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

    Barangay Ginebra dethroned reigning champion San Miguel Beer, 117-92, in Game 5 of the best-of-five semifinals on Tuesday to return to the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Import Justin Brownlee finished with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting in the field along with 10 rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Earl Scottie Thompson notched a career-high 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting in the field plus 15 rebounds and three assists to lead the Gin Kings.

    “I had all my losing speeches ready,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the postgame interview. “Incredible effort because we talked about coming out aggressive. We wanted Scottie (Thompson) to come out and be aggressive.”

    Ginebra will be returning to the Commissioners’ Cup finals for the first time since 2013.

    “It was nice because it was such a redemptive win, we got redemption last time we were really embarrassed in Game 4,” said Cone, referring to Ginebra’s 72-101 sorry loss to San Miguel Beer on Sunday.

    Combo guard Solomon Mercado scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the field plus five three-pointers and six assists, while point guard LA Tenorio had 18 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.

    Rookie Aljon Mariano contributed 11 points also for the Gin Kings.

    Ginebra, playing like a well-oiled engine machine, scored the first few baskets that include two triples. The Gin Kings were enjoying a comfortable 30-12 lead before the first quarter ends.

    The Beermen fought back in the second quarter narrowing the gap, 45-38. The Beermen outscored the Gin Kings in the second period, 26-12.

    But Ginebra jumped back to life in the third period with a 36-15 run highlighted by the three-point shooting of Mercado and Mariano. The Gin Kings were leading 81-53, at the start of the payoff period.

    Ginebra dominated the last quarter securing its return to the finals after three years.

    Arwind Santos led San Miguel Beer with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting in the field while import Elijah Millsap finished with 18 points. The two-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo had a measly output of seven points and 12 rebounds.

    Ginebra won Game 1 (115-108) but San Miguel Beer won Game 2 (95-92) tying the series, 1-1. Ginebra won again via close margin (97-96), in Game 3 but San Miguel Beer forged a do-or-die match by winning Game 4 (101-72).

    Ginebra will face Meralco in a best-of-seven championship round starting on Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

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