BARANGAY Ginebra finished a game with an import this time as it cruised past NLEX, 85-72, to get back on the winning track in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After seeing their imports go down with injuries down the stretch in their first two games, the Gin Kings had a relatively healthy lineup the entire game this time as Justin Brownlee played a cramp-free game to shoulder most of the load.
Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, and Scottie Thompson led the locals of the Gin Kings, who pounced on the absence of NLEX stalwart Asi Taulava, who served a suspension that was abruptly announced on the eve of the match.
“We were able to take advantage of the absence of Asi,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said as his team improved to a 2-1 win-loss record, while dealing the Road Warriors their second straight loss in three games. “We were able to play bigger lineups.”
“But no one’s feeling sorry for anybody,” added the league’s most successful coach, who’s also missing his best big man in Greg Slaughter to an ankle injury as well as original import Paul Harris. “That’s just part of the league. You just play through these kinds of things and if you play through them well, you develop character.”
Brownlee registered 24 points, including 14 in the payoff period, where the Gin Kings outscored the Road Warriors, 30-18, to pull away from a nip-and-tuck affair in the first three quarters.
The prolific import completed a solid effort with 15 boards, four assists, and two blocks in 35 minutes after scoring 31 points in 29 minutes in his debut where he had to leave late due to cramps.
Aguilar added 14 points, five boards, and four blocks, while Tenorio (10 points, three assists, three steals, two boards) and Thompson (eight points, 12 boards, four assists, two steals) orchestrated the hybrid Triangle offense of Cone.
The Gin Kings also delivered on defense that limited NLEX import Bill Walker to just 18 points after averaging over 38 in his first two games.
GIN 85 – Brownlee 24, Aguilar 14, Devance 10, Tenorio 10, Thompson 8, Caguioa 4, Ellis 4, Marcelo 4, Mariano 4, Mercado 3
NLEX 72 – Walker 18, Anthony 14, Villanueva J. 9, Lanete 8, Khobuntin 6, Baracael 5, Villanueva E. 5, Reyes 4, Akl 3, Alas 0, Forrester 0, Monfort 0
Quarterscores: 16-14, 40-36, 55-54, 85-72