Ginebra ends eight-year title drought

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Members of Barangay Ginebra revel after winning the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The victory ended the Gin Kings eight-year title drought. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Members of Barangay Ginebra revel after winning the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The victory ended the Gin Kings eight-year title drought. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Justine Brownlee fired his most important shot this conference that powered Barangay Ginebra’s 91-88 win over Meralco in Game 6 of the best-of-seven finals of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 41 Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. The victory ended the Gin Kings’ eight-year title drought.

Brownlee received the ball with only 3.9 ticks left in the game and then fired the buzzer-beating trey past the defense of Meralco import Allen Durham. Brownlee finished with 31 points on 13-of -25 shooting in the field, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“What an ending,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone told reporters during the postgame interview. “Sometimes players overcome poor coaching. I thought Chris Ellis came out and gave us a big lift to start the second half. It was a pretty much story book series.”

Cone also thanked former Ginebra playing coach Robert Jaworski Sr. for showing up and inspiring the team during halftime, when they were down by 13 points (32-45). “I thought it was pretty cool midway in the first quarter when the crowd chanted Ja-wors-ki, Ja-wors-ki. That was really cool.”

It was the Gin Kings’ ninth overall crown since joining the league in 1979.

“I know how difficult it is for coach Norman (Black) to lose this game. I know what its like to lose,” added Cone.

Playmaker LA Tenorio notched 21 of his 25 points in the second half on top of six assists and five rebounds, while rookie Earl Scottie Thompson had 10 points.

Rookie Chris Newsome and Hugnatan opened the first period on a high note by posting 10 points and seven points, respectively, handing the Bolts a 27-18 lead. Meralco stretched the advantage, 45-32, at the half through the effort of Alapag and Durham.

The Bolts’ first half shooting was impressive—hitting 19-of-37 overall in the field (51 percent) and its defense limited Ginebra to just 13-of-37 (35 percent). The Bolts notched more rebounds (22-18) and assists (12-10) than the Gin Kings in the first half.

The Gin Kings closed the gap via 33-21 attack led by Tenorio and Brownlee that posted a combined 24 points in the third period. Ginebra’s renewed vigor in the third quarter allowed it to trim Meralco’s lead, 66-65, at the start of the payoff period.

It was a close battle in the fourth period until Meralco’s Cliff Hodge scored two free throws that allowed the Bolts grab the lead, 88-86. But Brownlee tied the score 88-all with 27 ticks left through a fade away jumper.

The last time the Gin Kings won a title was during the 2008 Fiesta Conference in the time of import Chris Alexander.

Newsome led Meralco with 19 points, while Durham finished with only 15 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

PBA, SBP announce special draft
During the halftime break, PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio, together with the team governors revealed the names of Gilas Pilipinas Cadet pool members that will join the special rookie draft on October 30 at the Robinson’s Place Manila. They are: Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Ed Daquioag, Jio Jalalon, Kiefer Ravena, Roger Pogoy, Russel Escoto, Mike Tolomia, Arnold Van Opstal, Matthew Wright, Almond Vosotros, Von Pessumal, Kevin Ferrer and Alfonso Gotladera.

“There will be no trades allowed for the Gilas players for two years,” said Narvasa. “At any given time, Gilas players can be pulled out for national team duty. Aside from the team’s one cadet player, Gilas Pilipinas can get another regular player for national team duty.”

San Miguel Beer Team Governor Robert Non said the regular PBA player would be given 15 days before the tournament to join Gilas. The special draft will be held first before the regular draft.

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