BARANGAY Ginebra regained the PBA Governors’ Cup championship on Friday night after a 105-93 Game Five victory over Meralco at a packed Mall of Asia Arena.
The Gin Kings went on a fiery fourth-quarter run behind highlight plays from Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, and Stanley Pringle on both ends of the floor to finally put the Bolts away in front of 15,146 roaring fans.
With the 4-1 win in the best-of-seven series, Ginebra regained the crown it lost last season. It won the Governors’ Cup title for the third time in four years against the same opponent it beat the previous two times, but in fewer games.
Aguilar finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks, punctuating his Finals MVP-worthy performance with highlight dunks that started off the celebration for the Gin Kings and their fans.
Brownlee added 24 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists, while Pringle had 17 points and eight assists as the Gin Kings wrapped up the 12th championship in the history of the never-say-die franchise.
The title was the 22nd of the career of Ginebra head coach Tim Cone, the most in the history of the pro league.
It took a 28-16 finish that broke a 77-77 tie to clinch the title for Barangay Ginebra after the first three quarters saw momentum swinging like a pendulum from one side to another.
With the Gin Kings holding a precarious two-point lead, 86-84, Pringle scored on a difficult lay-up over Allen Durham that sparked Ginebra's decisive run.
Frustration mounted for Meralco with Durham called for a technical foul for second motion against Aljon Mariano and Ginebra took advantage. Pringle again scored over Durham and Aguilar scored on a slam for a 93-86 lead with 3:18 left to put the finishing touches to the rout.
Durham finished with 29 points, 21 rebounds, and eight assists, but the three-time Best Import awardee against fell short of giving Meralco a first-ever championship.
Baser Amer added 17 points for Meralco, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half but couldn't keep up when Ginebra stepped on the pedal in the final quarter.
Raymond Almazan, who played in Game Four despite nursing a torn meniscus, sat out Game Five for Meralco.
The tide turned in the third quarter thanks to Scottie Thompson, who capped a 14-point performance with a five-point swing that cut Ginebra’s deficit to one, 53-52.
Joe Devance and LA Tenorio drained back-to-back threes for a 64-60 lead.
Barangay Ginebra 105 – J. Aguilar 25, Brownlee 24, Pringle 17, Thompson 14, Tenorio 12, Mariano 6, Devance 3, Dela Cruz 2, Slaughter 2, Dillinger 0.
Meralco 93 – Durham 29, Amer 17, Newsome 13, Hodge 10, Quinto 9, Maliksi 9, Faundo 2, Pinto 2, Caram 2, Salva 0.
Quarters: 19-26; 40-46; 70-65; 105-93.