BARANGAY Ginebra averted a monumental collapse as it outlasted Alaska, 109-104, on Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Justin Brownlee almost singlehandedly kept the Gin Kings afloat, highlighting his steady play with a left-wing three-pointer off the glass that preserved the result after a once-imposing 26-point lead almost disintegrated.
The Ginebra import’s takeover almost overshadowed the vintage showing of LA Tenorio, who scattered 32 points and six assists to spark the early surge of the Gin Kings, who set up a Final Four meeting with sister team and defending champion San Miguel Beer.
Brownlee’s dagger trey negated Alaska counterpart LaDontae Henton’s own left-wing triple that pulled the Aces to within one point that capped a comeback after they trailed, 74-48, midway through the third quarter.
“That’s why they are Alaska,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said of the team he earlier said was the toughest team among those in the low seeds in the quarterfinals. “Luckily, we kept our cool for the most part and we were able to hang on.”
“We lost of our focus a little bit,” he added. “But we hit the big three and they missed the free throws.”
Cone was referring to the three straight free throws Calvin Abueva missed after drawing a foul on Japeth Aguilar from the three-point area that could’ve pulled the Aces to within one point again.
The botched charities dampened the effort of Abueva, who poured in nine of his 17 points in the final frame to lead the Aces’ fightback.
Brownlee finished with 29 points, including 11 in the payoff period, while Tenorio did most of his work early, scoring all but two of his output in the first three quarters.
Ginebra 109 – Tenorio 32, Brownlee 29, Mercado 14, Aguilar 12, Marcelo 7, Devance 6, Caguioa 4, Thompson 3, Cruz 2, Mariano 0, Helterbrand 0
Alaska 104 – Henton 27, Abueva 17, Jazul 13, Hontiveros 12, Manuel 10, Casio 9, Thoss 9, Banchero 5, Racal 2, Baclao 0, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0
Quarterscores: 23-23, 53-41, 86-66, 109-104