JUSTIN Brownlee played like a man on a mission, leading Barangay Ginebra to a 94-72 win over Meralco on Wednesday night and a commanding 3-1 series lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Brownlee came away with 27 points, 15 in the pivotal second quarter to lead the Gin Kings to the important victory on a night where he lost the Best Import award yet again to Meralco’s Allen Durham.
With Brownlee in top form, the Gin Kings are on track to continue their mastery of the Bolts in the Governors’ Cup Finals.
Ginebra will be looking to repeat its victories over Meralco in the 2016 and 2017 title series when Game Five of the best-of-seven championship series is played on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I thought we did a really, good methodical job,” said Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone. “We were very methodical of breaking them down on the offensive side and then we did a great job against Durham.
"We held him to eight points at halftime and it was amazing. You’d got to do that to a player like that, you better win the basketball game.”
The Ginebra import also had eight rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and four blocks in an all-around performance.
Brownlee sparked the Gin Kings’ charge in the second quarter, scoring 11 in a 17-4 run that opened a 33-20 lead. He sent Ginebra fans in the 11,496 crowd in a frenzy with a slam that put the Kings ahead, 42-29.
Meralco scored only 31 points in the first half, the lowest for the Bolts in their 17 finals games against the Gin Kings since the 2016 Governors’ Cup, according to the league’s chief statistician Fidel Mangonon.
Stanley Pringle scored 21 points and took over in the third quarter as his five-point swing put Ginebra on top by 17 points, 50-33. LA Tenorio also drained a triple for a 61-42 lead for the game’s biggest lead until that point.
Raymond Almazan started in Game Four despite suffering a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. He had 12 points and nine rebounds but his effort was in vain as the Bolts fell a loss away from another finals defeat.
Durham had 21 points and 27 rebounds after he claimed his third Best Import of the conference award prior to Game Four.
So dominant was Ginebra that it led by as many as 27 points on a jumper by Mark Caguioa when the result of the game was already settled.
Barangay Ginebra 94 – Brownlee 27, Pringle 21, Thompson 16, Tenorio 8, Dillinger 7, J. 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, Hodge 2, Amar 2, Faundo 0, Jackson 0, Pinto 0.
Quarters: 14-14; 42-31; 70-55; 94-72.