MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra moved on the cusp of ruling the 2019-2020 PBA Governors' Cup after shredding Meralco to pieces, 94-72, in Game 4 at the Araneta Coliseum on Wendesday, January 15.
Import Justin Brownlee and the Gin Kings dominated the last 3 periods after a tight opening quarter to gain a commanding 3-1 lead and inch closer to their third Governors' Cup title in the last 4 seasons.
Brownlee churned out a near triple-double performance with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks – doing most of his damage in a scorching second-quarter display that saw Ginebra pull away.
The game was tied at 14 after the maiden period before Brownlee erupted for 15 second-quarter points to help his side gain a 42-31 halftime lead.
It was all Gin Kings from there as the Bolts never made any serious comeback attempts after making only 3 of their 26 three-point attempts for a sorry 11%.
"We were very methodical out there. We weren't rushing, trying to get it all at once. We built the lead slowly, then kept it when we got it," said coach Tim Cone, whose Ginebra forced Meralco to 19 turnovers.
Stanley Pringle put up 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals in the win, while Scottie Thompson had his finest game of the best-of-seven series with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
Raymond Almazan, deciding to play for Game 4 despite suffering a meniscal tear on his left knee, pumped life into the Bolts with Meralco looking set for another cardiac finish just like the first two games.
But the Gin Kings had other plans as they jumped to a 17-6 run – capped by a Brownlee triple and layup – after the 14-14 deadlock and never looked back.
Import Allen Durham tried his best with 21 points, 27 rebounds, and 7 assists, but not even his monstrous performance could salvage the Bolts, who teeter on the brink of another title heartbreak.
Almazan had 12 points and 9 rebounds, while Chris Newsome added 12 points and 4 assists in the losing effort.
Game 5 is on Friday, January 17, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Barangay Ginebra 94 - Brownlee 27, Pringle 21, Thompson 16, Tenorio 8, Dillinger 7, Aguilar 5, Caguioa 5, Mariano 3, Slaughter 2, Caperal 0, Chan 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Meralco 72 - Durham 21, Newsome 12, Almazan 12, Quinto 7, Salva 6, Maliksi 6, Caram 4, Amer 2, Hodge 2, Faundo 0, Jackson 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 14-14, 42-31, 70-55, 94-72. – Rappler.com
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.