STANLEY Pringle caught fire in a decisive third-quarter run and Barangay Ginebra weathered a late Meralco surge to pull off a 92-84 win on Sunday night in Game Three of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Pringle scored 17 of his 21 points in the third canto when the Gin Kings opened leads as big as 23 points, which proved enough to cushion a late Meralco run that gave Ginebra fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum periods of anxiety.
Ginebra also found a lot of heroes other than Pringle on the way to taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven championship series.
With the Bolts cutting the gap to five points, LA Tenorio hit a big three-pointer with 1:47 left. Japeth Aguilar then scored on a short jumper from a pass by Justin Brownlee with 30 seconds left to seal the win.
Brownlee fell just short of a triple-double after finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, while Aguilar added 23 points and was a force on the defensive end with seven blocks.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone was relieved to see the Gin Kings come out victorious.
“Almost a tale of two halves. [Chris] Newsome in the first half and [Allen] Durham in the second. They were tough to handle. But for the most part, we kinda got our game going tonight. It’s kinda the way we play. We were able to get some stops and get on the open court,” Cone said.
“Stanley had a bunch of spectacular plays that really revved up the crowd. I thought just defensively, we did a much better job tonight in terms of controlling some of the guys we want to control,” he added.
The Gin Kings also took advantage of the absence of Raymond Almazan, who suffered a knee injury early in the first quarter. He never returned to the game, and his status moving forward remains a serious concern for the Bolts.
The Gin Kings now go for a commanding 3-1 lead in the series on Wednesday night, also at the Big Dome.
Chris Newsome scored 24 points to lead the Bolts in scoring while Allen Durham had 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Pringle came alive after a quiet first half where he scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting. He started a 10-0 run which he himself finished with a triple to hike Ginebra's lead to 11 points at 53-42.
Pringle continued to pour it on with a tough floater, followed by a basket by Greg Slaughter to push the lead to 23, 78-55, the biggest in the game.
After scoring just five in the first half, Durham came alive and his three-point play trimmed the gap to five points, 87-82, only for Ginebra to respond with a three by Tenorio.
Barangay Ginebra 92 – Brownlee 24, J. Aguilar 23, Pringle 21, Tenorio 11, Slaughter 6, Thompson 5, Devance 2, Dillinger 0, Mariano 0.
Meralco 84 – Newsome 24, Durham 23, Faundo 10, Jackson 8, Amer 6, Pinto 3, Hodge 2, Caram 2, Quinto 2, Almazan 2, Maliksi 2, Salva 0, Hugnatan 0.
Quarters: 24-21; 43-42; 78-58; 92-84.