STA. ROSA, Laguna – Barangay Ginebra went on a huge run to finish the third quarter and never looked back, clinching a quarterfinal berth after a 111-105 win over Meralco on Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Justin Brownlee led a critical 11-0 run as Ginebra entered the fourth period with a 75-72 advantage that it nursed until the final buzzer before a roaring Sunday crowd at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex.
Ginebra improved its league-leading record to 7-1 (win-loss) and sealed a place in the playoffs with three games to spare in the eliminations - all while playing without Greg Slaughter, Joe Devance, and Sol Mercado.
Meralco, runner-up to Ginebra in the last two Governors Cups, lost its fifth straight game and, at 1-5, slipped outside the magic circle of eight that will make the playoffs.
Brownlee had 31 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three blocks in his first game back in a stadiun where he played most of Alab Pilipinas' home games in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Japeth Aguilar, who is coming off an injury layoff, also had a big game on Sunday, scoring 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Kings.
“It was a struggle in the first half. We haven’t really played well in the first half but we have been hanging tough, battling, and we seemed to find our game in the second half. That’s been the kind of pattern for the last few games,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
Allen Durham finished with 36 points and 16 rebounds for the Bolts, while Chris Newsome added 25 points in a losing effort.
Ginebra 111 – Aguilar 31, Brownlee 31, Tenorio 18, Thompson 8, Caperal 8, Chan 6, Ferrer 4, Mariano 3, Caguioa 2.
Meralco 105 – Durham 36, Newsome 25, Salva 11, Canaleta 11, Hodge 10, Amer 6, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2, Bono 2, Tolomia 0, Lanete 0, Jamito 0.
Quarters: 23-24; 46-48; 75-72; 111-105.