MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra moved on the cusp of reaching the finals of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup with a crushing 132-105 win over NorthPort at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, December 18.
Import Justin Brownlee delivered his finest game of the playoffs with a near-triple-double outing to propel the Gin Kings to another blowout victory for a commanding 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals affair.
Limited to 15 points in their Game 2 triumph, Brownlee torched the Batang Pier with 41 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks as they won the last two outings on a combined 52 points.
Brownlee had 13 points in the opening period for a 36-31 edge before linking up with Jeff Chan, who scored 11 of his 17 points in their second-quarter pullaway that saw Barangay Ginebra enjoy a 64-48 lead.
It was all Gin Kings from there as the undermanned NorthPort, which played with only 9 players, failed to contain Brownlee, who erupted once more in the last two quarters with 21 second-half points.
Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone admitted he did not expect another lopsided win knowing their foes were determined to bounce back.
"I really thought it was going to come down to the wire. We did a great job of responding to their force with our own force," Cone said.
Japeth Aguilar put up 18 points and 10 rebounds, Stanley Pringle had 14 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals, while LA Tenorio added 11 points in the win.
Import Michael Qualls had his usual numbers of 32 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals, but the Batang Pier just did not have the enough firepower, probably owing to the absence of several key players.
Sol Mercado did not see action in Game 3 after suffering an ankle sprain in Game 2, joining Robert Bolick, Jonathan Grey, Bradwyn Guinto, and Kevin Ferrer in the injured list for NorthPort.
Christian Standhardinger finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Paolo Taha and Sean Anthony pumped in 15 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss.
Game 4 is on Friday, December 20, at the Araneta Coliseum.
Barangay Ginebra 132 - Brownlee 41, J. Aguilar 18, Chan 17, Pringle 14, Tenorio 11, Thompson 6, Mariano 6, R. Aguilar 5, Slaughter 4, Dillinger 2, Sargent 0, Caperal 0,
NorthPort 105 - Qualls 32, Standhardinger 20, Taha 15, Anthony 14, Lanete 8, Teodoro 8, Elorde 7, Cruz 5, King 2, Escoto 2.
Quarters: 36-31, 64-48, 100-72, 132-105.
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.