NorthPort steamrolls past Ginebra for 1-0 semis lead

MANILA, Philippines – NorthPort sent Tim Cone and Barangay Ginebra crashing back to earth after cruising to a 124-90 romp in Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, December 14. 

With the Gin Kings core and Cone weary from steering Gilas Pilipinas to a gold-medal finish in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the Batang Pier took advantage as they drew first blood in the best-of-five series.

Michael Qualls waxed hot after scattering 27 of his 38 points in the first half before taking the backseat for NorthPort with Garvo Lanete showing the way in a fourth-quarter assault that took the fight out of their foes. 

Qualls also had 15 rebounds and 4 steals as the Batang Pier seized a 51-39 halftime lead and never looked back to stretch their winning streak to 5 games. 

Barangay Ginebra still showed signs of life early in the payoff period until Lanete found his touch from long distance, pouring in 21 of his 24 points in the last frame spiked by 5 three-pointers. 

Even with the verdict all but decided, Lanete pushed the action as he buried 3 straight triples in the last two minutes that gave the Batang Pier a 122-85 lead – their biggest of the game. 

Christian Standhardinger, also a member of that gold medal team in the SEA Games, hardly looked exhausted after chipping in 16 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists for NorthPort. 

Sol Mercado made his presence felt with 14 points and 5 rebounds, while Sean Anthony added 11 points and 3 steals in the win. 

Import Justin Brownlee churned out his usual numbers of 24 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks for the Gin Kings as Stanley Pringle emerged as his only teammate in double figures with 21 points. 

LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, and Greg Slaughter – who all suited up for Gilas Pilipinas during the 11-day biennial meet – were limited to a combined 15 points in the loss. 

The Scores

NorthPort 124 - Qualls 38, Lanete 24, Standhardinger 16, Mercado 14, Anthony 11, Escoto 7, Taha 5, Elorde 5, Cruz 2, King 2.

Barangay Ginebra 90 - Brownlee 24, Pringle 21, Aguilar 8, Chan 8, Thompson 7, Dillinger 5, Dela Cruz 4, Slaughter 4, Mariano 4, Tenorio 3, Caperal 2, Devance 0, Caguioa 0, Sargent 0.

Quarters: 22-20, 51-39, 78-68, 124-90. 

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.