Ginebra frustrates TNT in tension-filled match as Gin Kings regain semis series edge
Ginebra outlasts TNT to take a 2-1 semis lead. Jerome Ascano

BARANGAY Ginebra came out more aggressive, but had fend off a tough TNT Katropa stand late to escape with a 106-103 win in a PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal matchup marred by contentious calls and take a 2-1 lead in their series on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Joe Devance scored two crucial putbacks that gave the Gin Kings enough cushion, before heaving a sigh of relief after missing a wide-open layup later as they held on in a heated showdown that lived up to its billing before a sizeable crowd.

The Gin Kings survived another superb showing by Glen Rice Jr., who exploded for 44 points and just missed a potential overtime-sending three-pointer as time expired.

“That was a great game. Both teams played well and it just came down to the last shot,” Gin Kings coach Tim Cone said. “But the series is not yet over.  It’s not a safe lead especially against TNT." 

The Gin Kings can close out the best-of-five series with a win in Game Four on Sunday night also at the Big Dome.

After being a bit tentative in Game Two, the Gin Kings went more aggressive on Friday night and resulted in drawing more fouls, 35-24, to take a wide 43-14 lead in free throw attempts and conversions (30-12).

Still, the Texters managed to erase a 13-point deficit early in the third quarter and stayed within striking distance from thereon behind Rice, who fired 15 of his output in the payoff period, including two on a putback that gave them a taste of the lead at 98-6 with three minutes and 37 seconds left.

Justin Brownlee, however, retaliated with a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Gin Kings the lead for good with 2:41 left, before Scottie Thompson and Devance each scored on a putback to give them a two-possession 103-98 lead.

After rice scored two charities, Devance scored another followup to put the lead back to five, before Brownlee scored on a technical free throw after Rice was called for hanging on the rim.

Rice scored on a putback three-pointer to pull the Texters back to within three points, before Thompson missed two charities to keep TNT alive, before Rice missed on last-gasp trey at the buzzer.

Devance finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting along with four boards, three assists, and two blocks, while Greg Slaughter added 19 points and six boards in 28 minutes off  the bench.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Brownlee and Thompson wound up with 17 points apiece as both finished with double-doubles with the do-it-all import grabbing 13 boards and Thompson hauling down 12 rebounds.

Kevin Ferrer also made his return from a cheek injury and tried to frustrated Rice on the defensive end.

The result spoiled a near-triple-double by Jayson Castro, who tallied 17 points, nine boards, and nine assists in 40 minutes.

 

The scores:

GINEBRA 106 – Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Thompson 17, Brownlee 17, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2

TNT 103 – Rice Jr. 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Chua 0

Quarterscores: 31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos