MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel lived up to its “Never Say Die” mantra by eking out a come-from-behind 86-76 win over the Meralco Bolts to go up 2-0 in their best-of-7 Governors’ Cup finals series at the Araneta Coliseum Sunday, October 15.
Down by 6 points with a little under 6 minutes left in the game, Ginebra banked on import Justine Brownlee, who scored back-to-back points in their 10-0 run, to take a 79-75 advantage.
Meralco had a chance to tie the game but Ranidel de Ocampo split his free throws while Jared Dillinger bricked both of his charities as LA Tenorio provided the Gin Kings enough breathing room by burying a dagger 3 and icing both of his free throws, 84-76.
The Bolts were cold as ice in the last few minutes as they failed to knock down a field goal since Cliff Hodge scored with 5:56 remaining in the fourth.
“Our energy went up in the last three minutes of the game when we tied the basketball game and we just kind of fed off that energy the rest of the way. Seeing the opportunity was there for us to win that game, it was a struggle. They are a tough mental team and they are hard to crack but I’m just really happy for my guys hanging in there and battling and battling,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Brownlee anchored Ginebra with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists while Tenorio scored 10 of his 14 points in the final period.
Japeth Aguilar made his presence felt with 16 markers and 8 boards while Scottie Thompson and Joe Devance combined for 19 points and 15 rebounds.
The Gin Kings trailed by 9 points at the start of the second quarter before unloading a 13-0 run, with 5 points coming from Mark Caguioa, for a 31-27 lead halfway the period.
Allen Durham singlehandedly carried the Bolts with 25 points, 22 rebounds, 7 assists and two steals but lacked help as De Ocampo and Baser Amer were the only other Bolts to score in double figures with 10 apiece.
Meralco, which led the league in three-point shooting (37 percent), still has not found its rhythm from long range as it buried just 28 percent of its attempts after shooting 24 percent in their blowout loss in Game 1.
Game 3 will be held on Wednesday, October 18, at the same venue.
Ginebra (86): Brownlee 19, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Caguioa 6, Mercado 6, Ferrer 3, Slaughter 3
Meralco (76): Durham 25, Amer 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 9, Newsome 8, Lanete 6, Dillinger 5, Tolomia 3, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0
Quarter scores: 18-24, 40-37, 57-62, 86-76.
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