Fan Fave Brownlee and Contoversial Balkman Join Forces as Alab Pilipinas Reinforcements

 Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman  Alab Pilipinas

Former PBA Import Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman back in the Philippines

7 pm, January 3, 2018, Alab Pilipinas will take on the KL Westports Malaysia Dragons at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan Arena. This will be a basketball game to watch as two former great PBA imports will play together to reinforce the struggling Alab Pilipinas.
Alab Pilipinas has been a let down so far and has struggled to find its mark in the ABL. Currently, at the 7th place(1W-3L) of a 9 teams tournament, the team just recently etched a win in four games against another outlier in the league the Formosa Dreamers.
The game today will be critical for Alab Pilipinas as they want to continue to get the win especially against the Westports Dragon (1-2). Okosa and Ray Parks led the team in their last outing but Alab has decided that they were not enough and had to call on two of the most polarizing import players that the PBA had, at least when compared to each other.

Justin Brownlee the proven winner

Everyone loves this guy! Brownlee has made a mark as one of the best Ginebra imports in recent years has been endeared by the fans not only because of his skills and great plays on the court but his demeanor and attitude outside. We can say that he is one of the most loved imports of Ginebra and he has amassed a number of followings.  Justin Brownlee is a proven winner and a champion who can lead a team and play a role if needed. He perfectly fits with any team not only because he can play multiple positions but he also gets along with players and fans very well.

Tough and Rough Renaldo Balkman looks for redemption

It’s hard to build a reputation and it’s easy to break them. On the court, Renaldo Balkman was a force to reckon with, he was considered one of the best and well-known imports the PBA has seen but his hard work diminished because he got out of focus and was not able to hold his composure in an incident that will be remembered by PBA fans. For some time, Balkman was tagged as the undertaker as he once choked his own teammate who was just helping cool him down.
Watch the ugly incident below.
Arwind Santos and the San Miguel Beermen (Petron Blaze) certainly got a lot of memories from this incident and to be honest I would not have considered Balkman again to play for any team but they know better.

Balkman is looking for redemption 

A stint with Alab Pilipinas would not easily erase the bad incident but the apologetic Balkman has mentioned that the incident has made him become a better man and to always watch his composure regardless of the situation.

Alab Pilipinas stirring it up 

No questions on the capabilities of the two new imports of the Alab Pilipinas and tonight we will find out if the new mix of players will be enough to turn around the team’s bad start. Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman in our point of view, however, should be able to easily turn the situation around and make the Alab a competitive team that it should be.

Do you think acquiring Justine Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman is good for the Alab Pilipinas?

By the Numbers: Three BIG Things that Made Ginebra Champions Anew

Just what went well for the Gin Kings in last night’s Game 7?

LA Tenorio

Tinyente bagged another Finals MVP award as he led Ginebra to another title. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

As the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup trophy was finally into the air inside the Philippine Arena, as the confetti rained down the court, as the crowd mobbed the winning team, Tim Cone and the rest of the back-to-back champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings finally released a sigh of relief. 
After all, they saw the Meralco Bolts cut down a double-digit lead to just 4 points with just under a minute to play in the 4th quarter. Fortunately, time was on the side of the Gin Kings as they held on to win Game 7 with a 101-96 decision in front of a mostly pro-Ginebra 54,000+ crowd that watched the rubber match. 
Now, let’s check out the numbers that enabled Ginebra to win it all, finally:

Tinyete’s 26 Points= Another Finals MVP Award

If there was one specific player who deserved all of the praises, it’s none other than one of the smallest guys from either team, Lewis Alfred Tenorio. His 26 points, built on 4 long range bombs, 4 assists and 2 steals in 41 minutes of action gained him another Finals MVP award to add to his already full resume. 
Mind you, folks, this guy was playing all conference long with an injured arm but decided to wait until the end of the season to undergo a needed surgery. 
Now that the season has ended with Ginebra being the champs, again, Tinyente’s sacrifices were all worth it. That, folks, is the living example of Ginebra’s NEVER SAY DIE attitude and whether you like him or not, Tenorio deserves a drop of your respect. 

50% Field Goal Shooting: The Less. The Better

Sometimes, you don’t need to shoot more to win a basketball game, especially in a championship game. The Meralco Bolts took 84 SHOTS in Game 7 and they only made 35 of them. In contrast, Ginebra only took 77 shots and yet they made 39 of them, a 50% field goal shooting. Efficient, isn’t it? They also better at the 2-point area (53%) and from long distance (43%). Now that’s how you win a championship. By hitting your target instead of missing them, horribly. 

55 Points for Ginebra’s Giants

As mentioned by this basketball pundit on wheels during the entire series, one of Ginebra’s main strength against the smaller Bolts is their height. And if you watched Game 7 last night, then you saw how the bigs of Ginebra continuously pounded on the inside while Justin Brownlee sniped from the outside.
The result: Brownlee, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance went on to combine for 55 points- 23 from Brownlee alone. 
That’s a big difference compared to the output of Meralco’s bigs who got 26 points from Allen Durham and only 7 from Reynel Hugnatan. Now that’s dominance.

Conclusion

Meralco may have lost, again but that doesn’t make them any weaker. No. It’s just that they’ve lost to a better team, again. They’ve lost to a hungrier, bigger and more talented team in Ginebra. That’s the reason why the Gin Kings are kings again.

54,000+ Witness Game 7 as Ginebra Wins it All, Finally

And they survived a furious 4th comeback from the Bolts

LA Tenorio may be playing with a problematic arm but that didnt stop him from hitting 5 threes in Game 7. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

After six games, no championship trophy was hoisted into the air. Yet.
After six games, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings couldn’t use their size advantage to the fullest.
After six games, the Meralco Bolts couldn’t hit their target. Consistently.
After six games, the series is still tied at 3-3 and that’s why we’re heading to a Game 7 so they can finally decide who will take home the PBA Governors’ Cup championship.

Ginebra Imposed Early Dominance

The defending champions started Game 7 with a 5-0 scoring blast as Meralco found it difficult to find the basket as the latter went scoreless until Allen Durham scored on a pair of charities 2 minutes into the game as he later added a lay-up to make it 7-4, in favor of the Gin Kings. Ginebra’s lead never reached beyond 5 points during the first 6 minutes of the opening quarter as Meralco was able to slice it down to 1, at 12-11. Compared to Game 6 when they were shooting miserably from deep, Ginebra already have 3 three-pointers made during that span- 2 from LA Tenorio.

Turnovers have began to hit the Bolts’ offense as evident by Baser Amer who have the ball tipped by Scottie Thompson  as the latter dished the ball to Japeth Aguilar for an easy lay-up to make 21-14, with under 3 minutes to play in the 1st quarter as Ginebra ended the first quarter on top, 27-19 with LA Tenorio leading the way for the Gin Kings.

Ginebra continued with their efforts to break the game wide open as LA Tenorio later hit another long bomb and Scottie Thompson added another lay-up to give their team, a 9-point advantage, 4 minutes into the second quarter as Norman Black called a timeout. Mark Caguioa scored on a floater and Justin Brownlee added another inside to make it 42-29 as the Bolts struggled to get anything on their offense. Ginebra’s lead later ballooned to 19 as Caguioa and Greg Slaughter took turns in scoring on the inside which led to another Meralco timeout with under 4 minutes to go before intermission. The champs held a huge 52-37 lead into the break as Meralco acted as if they needed a halftime filled with rants from Norman Black because their offense in the first half was a mess, really.

The Halftime Numbers

Tiyente LA Tenorio had 13 points while Justin Brownlee added 11 points and 4 rebounds. Offense-wise, Ginebra was the dominant team as evident by their 58% field goal shooting in the first half, including a whopping 65% shooting in the 2-point area. They also prevented the Bolts on the break, limiting Meralco to 0 FASTBREAK POINTS while Ginebra 6 points off fastbreak opportunities.
Surprisingly, Jared Dillinger had 11 points after the first two quarters for Meralco while Cliff Hodge added  8 makers. Allen Durham was almost a non-factor for Meralco as he only managed 6 points on a horrible 1 of 6 shooting while playing for 24 minutes, so far. Meralco’s inability to score consistently in the first half was what doomed them in the first place as they only made 35% of their shot attempts. Lots of clanks. Indeed.


Meralco’s Struggles Continued


After Meralco sliced the lead to just 12 points during the opening minutes of the second half, Ginebra unleased an offensive outburst to re-establish a 20-point lead with under 10 minutes to play- a lead sliced down anew to 17 after Allen Durham completed a three-point play. However, shooting slump hurt Meralco during the early goings. To make things worse, Jared Dillinger was called for a “deliberate” foul after a hard foul on Japeh Aguilar with under 4 minutes left. Despite Allen Durham’s commendable effort who produced 12 points in the 3rd quart alone, Meralco failed to contain LA Tenorio who already had 23 points after 3 quarters as Ginebra walked with an 81-64 leading into the final quarter. 
Meralco began the 4th quarter by cutting the lead to 12 anew thanks to Garvo Lanete’s trey which forced Tim Cone to call a timeout with barely 2 minutes into the quarter. But Justin Brownlee scored 5 consecutive points for the Gin Kings to quickly regain control and put his team up, at 86-69. Ginebra’s lead never reached below 11 points the rest of the first 7 minutes of the 4th quarter as every time Meralco attempted to cut the deficit, Ginebra instantly answered right back with an outburst of their own to keep the Bolts at bay. 
That was until Anjo Caram scored on a lay-up to bring Meralco within 9 points for the first time in a LONG time. However, for Meralco, Joe Devance made it 100-89  on a lay-up with under 2 minutes as time was already on the side of the Gin Kings. Chirs Newsome decreased the deficit down to 7 on a lay-up while he was fouled but missed the bonus charity as Allen Durham grabbed 2 offensive rebounds during the final minute and dished an assist to Jared Dillinger who in turn, drained a three-pointer to make it 100-95 with 40 ticks on the clock. Utilizing their height advantage, Japeth Aguilar was able to grab an important offensive rebound as LA Tenorio made 1 of 2 free throws to make it, 101-96 with 22 seconds left as Norman Black used up his final timeout of the ballgame. 

The Numbers that Mattered in the End

LA Tenorio led Ginebra with 26 points while Justin Brownlee added 23 points and 8 rebounds. Scottie Thompson chipped 14 points and 9 rebounds- leading the Gin Kings in rebounds in this victory. As expected, it was defense that won the title for Ginebra as they limited Meralco to only 41% field goal shooting throughout Game 7. 
Allen Durham’s 26 points and 24 rebounds were all for naught as Meralco, for the second consecutive time, against the same team, failed to win it all. Jared Dillinger’s 20 points came way too late and so were Cliff Hodge’s 14 points. Despite their 52-43 advantage in the rebounding battle, Meralco missed 7 of their 23 attempts from the free throw line. SAYANG, isn’t it? 
Scores:

Ginebra
Tenorio 26, Brownlee 23, Thompson 14, Slaughter 12, J. Aguilar 10, Devance 10, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2

Meralco
Durham 26, Dillinger 20, Hodge 14, Newsome 11, Caram 9, Hugnatan 7, Amer 6, Lanete 3

Quarter scoring

27-19, 52-36, 81-64, 101-96

Hugnatan Hits 6 Threes, Durham has 28 to Force a Game 7

Meralco led all game along and held on in the 4th

Chris Newsome and the Bolts defied the odds to force a Game 7.

One team is hoping to celebrate their second consecutive Governors’ Cup championship by the end of the night while one team is hoping to stay in the title hunt and extend this series to a Game 7 on Friday at the Philippine Arena. For the defending champions, win Game 6 and you get to enjoy the rest of the night. 
For the Meralco Bolts, on the other hand, provide Allen Durham with the much-needed reinforcements and they might just extend this best-of-7 Finals series to a winner-take-all match. Might.
Nope. The balloons and the confetti will have to wait until Friday as the Meralco Bolts did what they have to do to extend this series to a rubber match after they beat Ginebra, 98-91 in Game 6.

Meralco’s Locals Sparked Early On

Garvo Lanete started things off in Game 6 with a three-pointer as the Meralco Bolts raced to a 12-4 advantage after Chris Newsome scored on a fastbreak lay-up halfway through the first quarter. Around that span of time, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were only shooting 25% from the field which explained why Tim Cone called a timeout.

After Ginebra cut the lead down to 5, at 15-10, the Bolts answered right back with their scoring run of their own to put up a 9-point lead. Another trey from Lanete gave Meralco their first taste of a double-digit advantage, at 25-14 as Ginebra mysteriously struggled to get anything going on offense. Meralco held a 29-17 after the first 12 minutes of action as Lanete already have 8 points under his name as he nailed 2 of Meralco’s 4 threes to start the game.

Meralco’s offense vanished at the early moments of the second quarter which enabled the Gin Kings to cut down the deficit down to 6, at 29-23 as Ginebra’s defense held the Bolts scoreless for almost 3 minutes as the Bolts succumbed to commit costly turnovers. Garvo Lanete finally broke the spell of the Bolts on a teardrop and Aleen Durham added another lay-up to re-establish a nine-point cushion, at 33-24. Baser Amer later drained a trey and Durham added another inside basket as Meralco established a 14-point advantage heading into another Ginebra timeout.
5 points from Jared Dillinger plus a free throw from Amer made it 44-24 with 6 minutes to play as Ginebra was struggling terribly to put the ball into the basket as Reynel Huganatan drained another three-pointer to keep the Bolts by 17 points. Both teams walked into the halftime break with the Bolts leading, 54-17.

The Digits at the Half

Allen Durham, as expected led the way for the players of Norman Black with 13 points and 11 rebounds but this time, he had more reinforcements as Reynel Hugnatan had 11 points off the bench while Lanete added 10 as a starter. Three-point shooting has been the key for Meralco as it was evident in the first half of Game 6 which saw  the Bols make 7 of their 16 shots from outside
For Ginebra, Justin Brownlee matched Durham’s numbers with 13 points on his own but no one else followed through for the Gin Kings as Greg Slaughter had 8 points while LA Tenorio scored 6 points on 3 of 9 field goal shooting. Almost everything went terribly wrong for the champs, at least in the first half of Game 6 as Ginebra failed to match the intensity of Meralco as evident in their points scored on fastbreak opportunities, an area where Tim Cone’s boys only scored 2 points while allowing Meralco to score 12 points on the break.

Ginebra’s Climb

From the highest of 17 points during the halftime break, Ginebra relied on Justin Brownlee as the Gin Gin Kings went on a scoring burst to cut the deficit down to 13 points, at 61-48 with under 8 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. After a Meralco timeout, Greg Slaughter unleashed a personal 4-0 run as part of Ginebra’s 9-0 run cut down the lead down to a single digit for the first time since the first half as Garvo Lanete scored on the inside for a rare Meralco basket. 
Later, Scottie Thompson drained a trey as both teams reached the halfway mark of the third quarter. Garvo Lanete scored on another three-pointer to make it a double-digit lead for the Bolts as Gnebra called a timeout with under 5 minutes to play. Ginebra managed to keep the deficit down to single digit the rest of the way as they entered the final quarter just down 6 points, 75-69. 

Meralco Regained its  Rthym 

Right after Ginebra cut down the deficit to 6 points anew, Meralco regained control as Allen Durham went to work to open the 4th quarter and Reynel Hugnatan drained another three-pointer to give Mealco, a 13-point lead at 85-72with 8:08 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Ginebra’s back-to-back threes off a timeout brought the deficit to a single digit, again but Cliff Hodge on a highly-contested lay-up as Chris Newsome added a free throw for an 11-point advantage with the 4th quarter already halfway done. 

One Last Push for Ginebra (?)

Ginebra’s slowly began to click as LA Tenorio’s trey with under 6 minutes left in the game brought his team within 6 points, at 88-82 prompting Norman Black to call another timeout. Moments later, Mark “The Spark” Caguioa drained a turnaround jumper to bring Ginebra within 4 points, at 90-86- the closest the Gin Kings came within all game along. But that indeed was the closest Ginebra came within as Meralco scored on a free throw plus a putback from Allen Durham to put the Bolts up 7 with under 2 minutes play. Then, Allen Durham scored on the inside with 40 seconds left on the clock and to lock up a Game 7 on Friday, Reynel Huganatn drained his 6th three-pointer of the game with 16 seconds left. 

The Digits that Mattered

Allen Durham scored 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while playing for 48 MINUTES. The good news was, he had help this time around as Reynel Hugantan scored 24 points which were built on six of 12 shooting from long distance. Garvo Lanete 15 points while Chris Newsome added 10 points and 11 boards. What were the keys for Meralco? 51-41 rebounding edge plus 42% shooting from long distance.
Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 23 points and 9 boards while Greg Slaughter added 18 points in his second consecutive game as a starter in this series. LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson each scored 12 points but Ginebra only got 16 points from its bench players. 
Scores:

MERALCO – 98
Durham 28, Hugnatan 24, Lanete 15, Newsome 10, Dillinger 9, Hodge 6, Amer 6, Caram 0.

GINEBRA – 91
Brownlee 23, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 12, Thompson 12, Devance 11, J. Aguilar 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Taha 0.
Quarter scoring:
29-17, 54-37, 75-69, 98-91

Back to Basics: 3 Things Ginebra Must Do Tonight to Win it All

Failure to do these things might force a Game 7. Might

Scottie Thompson 2017 Governors Cup Finals
With Sol Mercado out, the rest of the Ginebra guards must step up in Game 6. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

After a convincing outing from LA Tenorio who was held scoreless in Game 4, after Greg Slaughter started for the first time in the series and scored 17 points in their Game 5 victory at the Philippine Arena which was witnessed by more than 34,000 fans, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, the defending Governors’ Cup champions, can clinch the title with a win tonight in Game 6 at the Philippine Arena. 
The only question is: Can the Gin Kings pull it out and celebrate tonight? It’s up to the Gin Kings themselves. But one thing is certain: the Meralco Bolts will rely on Allen Durham anew to carry the majority of the Bolts’ scoring load come tonight’s Game 6.
Now, we all know that the Bolts can definitely force a Game 7 on Friday IF they can hit their target, especially from rainbow country. If you’re Ginebra, wouldn’t it better if you can celebrate tonight rather than go home and prepare yourselves for a slugfest on Friday? Should the Gin Kings do the things below, there won’t be a Game 7 to worry about:

Limit Allen Durham’s Output

Okay. This is easier said than done for any team who is playing against the Meralco Bolts. Keep in mind, folks, Allen Durham is a two-time Best Import awardee and his numbers don’t lie either. In their Game 5 defeat, Durham scored 27 points, leading all scorers from both teams, on 52% field goal shooting. He also had 19 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks If anything, the Gin Kings should be wary of Durham’s capability to unleash a scoring onslaught especially now that the Bolts’ season is on the line. 

What to do? 

Tim Cone should put his best defenders on Allen Durham. Throw in double teams whenever Durham is in the post. Frustrate him and you take away Meralco’s power source. Whoever Tim Cone will be sending in to guard Durham will have his hands full. Now, who among the giants of Ginebra can defend the smaller Durham? 
Answer: All of them. Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Justin Brownlee and yes, even Joe Devance can make life miserable for Allen Dirham especially on the offensive end primarily because of the formers’ height advantage.

The Guards Must Step Up

With Sol Mercado out indefinitely due to the injury that he sustained back in the closing seconds of Game 4 which was won by the Bolts, the play setting duty falls to the hands of Tineyte, LA Tenorio who played for 40 minutes in Game 5 and scored 17 points. Earlier this week, Tenorio indicated that he doesn’t mind playing for 48 MINUTES if the need arises but, he doesn’t have to do that, right? 

What to do?

Scottie Thompson MUST step out of his shooting slump and take parts of the defensive pressure away from Tenorio because in case you’ve forgotten, Tenorio is already playing with a problematic arm so the last thing you will need is Tenorio aggravating that arm injury due to the fact hat the rest of the Ginebra guards are struggling to pick up the pace. 
Tim Cone may even opt to allow Jay Jay Helterbrand play for longer minutes because whether we like it or not, Helterbrand can still contribute as we saw in last year’s Game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals. 
And, what a better way to clinch a title than with Helterbrand teaming up with old pal, Mark Caguioa, on the floor, for one final time, for possibly their final championship run, together? Fans will definitely go nuts if the old Fast and the Furious duo takes the court for one final ride.

Shut Down Meralco Early On

Let’s make this simple, folks. Bury the Bolts during the early goings of the game and don’t allow Durham and company to turn the tide in their favor. In Game 1, Ginebra finished the first quarter with an 11-point lead and then outscored Meralco, 25-16 in the fourth quarter which enabled the Gin Kings to win the game. If Ginebra can do that again tonight, then the party starts right after the final buzzer.

Conclusion

Ginebra has been in the same situation last year when they were one-win away from the title. If they do the things above, they won’t be needing a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Justin Brownlee to take it all. 

Ginebra Blows an 18-Point Lead, Still Wins to Move One Win Away from Title

Greg Slaughter proved why he is the Best Player of the Conference

Greg Slaughter silenced his critics with his huge double-double performance. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

There are two reasons why this best-of-7 series needed a Game 5 at the Philippine Arena. One: Ginebra won first two games. Second: they lost the next two against the smaller Bolts.

Historically speaking, whoever wins Game 5 when the series is tied at 2-2 will go on to win the championship. After Game 5, one team will go home needing to only win the next game to finally win it all.

They established an 18-point lead in the second quarter. They allowed Meralco to come back and even momentarily take the lead in the third quarter. In the end, the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were able to regain control in the 4th quarter and consequently, regain the lead in the series as they won 85-74 over the Meralco Bolts, only needing one more win to clinch the championship.

Tinyente is Back!

The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings started Game 5 with a 6-0 run, 4 points from LA Tenorio who was held scoreless in Game 4.  The Meralco Bolts, like they were in the previous four games of the series, were struggling to put the ball into the basket for the first 4 minutes of the first quarter until Allen Durham made the Bolts’ first basket with a contested lay-up. The defending champs held a 6-point cushion during most of the opening quarter until Meralco started chipping away and cut down the deficit at 12-10 on Cliff Hodge’s lay-up with under 4 minutes to play, leading to a Ginebra timeout. Right after a Ginebra miss, Reynel Hugnatan drained an open three-pointer to give Meralco its first taste of the lead, something LA Tenorio did on the other end to make it 15-13 in the favor of the crowd darlings. Ginebra held onto the lead, at 21-15 to finish the first quarter. LA Tenorio exploded for 9 points after going 0 of 7 in the previous game.

Ginebra’s Second Quarter Rampage

Greg Slaughter and Mark Caguioa teamed up in the opening minutes of the second quarter to give Ginebra an 11-point lead as the Bolts settled for mostly outside shots which were missing the mark, terribly. A three-pointer from Joe Devance made it 29-15 which forced a timeout from Norman Black as his team was held scoreless for almost 3 minutes.Chris Newsome finally broke the Bolts’ silence with a long one from deep.

Meralco Charged Back

Meralco went on a scoring run which was highlighted by an Allen Durham Dunk to trim down the champs’ lead to 11, at 35-24. Then, Garvo Lanete drained a rare long one for Meralco to bring the Bolts with 7, at 36-29 with 2:11 on the clock. Jared Dillinger hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to trim the deficit to 42-35 at the intermission

The Numbers at the Break

LA Tenorio and Greg Slaughter each had 9 points after the first two quarters for Ginebra who led despite only making 36% of their shot attempts and 20% of their shots from beyond the 3-point line was also the reason why their 18-point lead quickly evaporated.
As usual, it was Allen Durham yet again, shone the brightest for Meralco in the first with his 12 points as the Bolts only shot 31% from the field. Fortunately, it was their three-point shooting which brought them back in the game as Meralco dropped 5 long bombs of their 19 attempts.  

Meralco’s Electrifying Third Quarter

Meralco was able to sustain their shooting touch to open the second half with 7 points to come within 2, 44-42 during the first 3 minutes of the third quarter, a scoring run which was highlighted by another trey from the old man Reynel Hugnatan. LA Tenorio later put things back in control for the Gin Kings as he drained another jumper plus a driving lay-up to reestablish a 9-point lead. 
The Bolts then went on an 8-0 run to come within 1, at 56-55 with under 5 minutes to play in the third. After a Japeth Aguilar dunk, Garvo Lanete added another one from long distance to tie things up at 58 apiece and Allen Durham picked up his own miss and scored to make it 60-58, in favor of the Bolts as a visibly upset Tim Cone called a timeout.The  Gin Kings still held a 66-62 lead heading into the final quarter as Allen Durham scored 11 points in the entire third quarter.

Ginebra Regained Control. For Good

Ginebra went back to work as their defense shut down Meralco while building an 8-point advantage with under 9 minutes to play. But, Meralco quickly woke up from their nap as Allen Durham and company came within 74-70 on Chris Newsome’s basket.

However, a 3-point play from Justin Brownlee and a pair of charities from Greg Slaughter put the Gin Kings up, 79-70 as Norman Black was already complaining about the calls from the officials. A Greg Slaughter basket gave a double-digit lead for the Gin  Kings as Meralco was beginning to go back to their bad habit of fading away late in the game. LA Tenorio later scored on the inside to give Ginebra a 13-point advantage heading into the final 2 minutes of the game. 

The Numbers

Justin Brownlee led the way for the Gin Kings with his 20 points and 12 rebounds but it was Greg Slaughter’s 17 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks that made the difference for the Gin Kings. LA Tenorio also scored 17 as Ginebra won despite only making 3 of their 22 attempts from rainbow country. 
Allen Durham had 27 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Bolts as Garvo Lanete played his best game in the series, so far, to score 11 points off the bench but nobody else scored significantly for Meralco which was one of the primary reasons why they one loss away from another disappointing Final defeat. 
Scores:
Ginebra
Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, J. Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.
Meralco
Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.
Quarter scoring:
21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74

By the Numbers: Three Things that Went Wrong for Ginebra in Game 4

Because of these things, the series is tied at 2-2 instead of Ginebra holding a 3-1 leading heading into Game 5

Allen Durham Meralco Bolts
For the second straight game, Ginebra failed to utilize their height advantage. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Despite another 34-point performance from Justin Brownlee, despite the fact that we got to see the Fast and the Furious in action, and despite the vociferously deafening “GI-NE-BRA!” chants by the Ginebra faithfuls that this basketball pundit on wheels endured, those things weren’t enough as the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings suffered yet another stunning 85-83 defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts in last night’s Game 4 which knotted the series at 2-2. 
However, we must remember that the game wasn’t won until the final buzzer when Ginebra took 4 shots right after Allen Durham made a lay-up to give the Bolts the lead. 4 shots. 4 attempts. 0 makes. 
Even Coach Tim Cone admitted that even if one of his players was able to call a timeout before the last possession, he doubted that it could affect the outcome, stating that calling a timeout will also enable Meralco to make some adjustments. So, the players made the call. Justin Brownlee attempted a floater to force an extra period and he missed. Ouch!
Justin Brownlee may have scored 34 points while making half of his 24 field goal attempts but he had 5 turnovers and had 5 personal fouls. Joe Devance broke out of his shooting slump to score 15 points but fouled out late. 
There were many things that went horribly wrong for Ginebra in Game 4 so allow this basketball pundit on wheels to list down 3 things which basically denied the Gin Kings to celebrate tomorrow at the Philippine Arena- should they win Game 5:

4 Points Combined from Tenorio, Thompson and Mercado

One reason why the defending champions struggled and eventually lost Game 4 was the fact none of their guards were shooting and scoring well. 
Scottie Thompson scored 4 points on 2 of 5 field goal shooting. LA Tenorio, the hero of Game 2, was pointless, literally as he missed all of his 7 attempts although he did have 6 assists and a steal. Sol Mercado, who gurt hurt late in the dying moments of the game, was scoreless too. He is likely to miss tomorrow’s Game 5 which means the rest of the Ginebra guards needed to make sure that their presence will be felt offensively.

14 Missed from Deep

If anything, Game 4 a reversal of roles. Why? In the first two games of the best-of-7 series, it was the Meralco Bolts who were shooting bricks from outside. 
In Games 3 and 4, it was Ginebra who was shooting bricks. Horribly. 
In Game 4 alone, the Gin Kings have attempted 22 shots from the 3-point line and they missed a total of 14. Only Justin Brownlee (4 of 8) and Joe Devance (3 of 5) had respectable shooting performance from long distance as they were the only ones who scored in double figures in the first place.  

17 Offensive Rebounds for the Bolts

This is another one of those nagging ironies of Game 4. The entire Meralco team out-muscled the much-taller Gin Kings on the offensive boards as evident by their 17-12 advantage in that category. Allen Durham, who top-scored for Meralco with his 28 points, grabbed 18 rebounds- 7 on the offensive end. The result: the Bolts also took a 13-9 advantage on second-chance points.

Conclusion

Assuming that Ginebra did get the timeout on the last possession of Game 4, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Sure, they made 43% of their atempts last night but failed to make even one of those 4 attempts in the 40 seconds of the game. Just one make to force an overtime. A 3 to win. Unfortunately, Ginebra faltered. Ginebra missed. And, Ginebra lost. Again. 

Allen Durham Makes Crucial Basket to Lift Meralco Against Ginebra in Game 4, Series Tied 2-2

Ginebra Gin  Kings falter late. Again

Baser Amer Meralco Bolts
Baser Amer made some crucial baskets down the stretch for the Bolts (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Just when Ginebra thought that they could sweep the series, the Bolts came out alive in Game 3. And just when the defending champions thought that they could take a commanding 3-1 series heading into Sunday’s Game 5 at the Philippine Arena, the Meralco Bolts got the job done as they held on to win a close one in Game 4, an 85-83 victory against the crowd darlings which knotted the series at 2 games apiece.
Right from the tip-off, it didn’t take long until both squads started scoring. Justin Brownlee started things off with a dunk to energize the almost all Ginebra crowd as Joe Devance provided the early reinforcements as he drained two baskets, a trey and a 2-point basket to put Ginebra up, at 7-4 but the Bolts, coming off a much-needed Game 3 victory, roared back with 6 unanswered points to take a 10-7 advantage. The rest of the opening chapter of Game 4 was an up and down roller coaster ride as both squads were trying to pull away from one another. The first quarter ended with both teams tied at 17-all.
When the second quarter came along, that’s when things began to heat up for the Bolts as their Game 3 hero, the old man Reynel Hugnatan drained 2 three-pointers in the early moments of the quarter as the rest of the Bolts slowly chipped with Chris Newsome attacking the paint, so was Allen Durham. Even Baser Amer and Anjo Caram scored on numerous occassions.
However, the Gin Kings didn’t allow Meralco to run away as they went on a scoring run which was highlighted by Justin Brownlee’s 10 points which brought the champs within 38-37 with under 2 minutes to play in the first half.  Brownlee dropped a long-distance bomb to put Ginebra up, at 40-38 with 40 seconds to play but Chris Newsome answered right back with a trey of his own to give the Bolts, a 41-40 heading into the halftime break.

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A Touch of the Fast and the Furious: The Third Quarter Comeback

Thanks to Allen Durham, Hugnatan and Newsome, the Bolts built a lead which ballooned to 13 points. With his team down after Durham made a pair of freebies, Tim Cone first sent Mark Caguioa into the game and immediately scored a 2-point shot to decrease the deficit down to 11. Then, the crowd went nuts, really nuts as Jay Jay Halterbrand checked in for the first time and all of a sudden, the famed Fast and the Furious of Caguioa and Helterbrand was back in action and it really rippled to the reaction of the crowd as the chants of “GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!” went louder and louder. Another basket by the Spark brought down the deficit to single digit from that moment on, Justin Brownlee 4 free throws to make it 65-58 with 1:11 left in the 3rd quarter. Mark Caguioa later added another lay-up as Justin Brownlee made another 3 to bring his team within 5, at 68-63 heading into the final quarter.

Early Struggles in the 4th

Both squads were struggling to get anything going in the early goings of the final frame as Joe Devance finally scored the Gin Kings’ first three points to make it 68-66 which was answered right back with Allen Durham yet again, scoring on a jump shot. Missed shots, missed free throws, turnovers and fouls mired the first four minutes of the 4th quarter until Japeth Aguilar slammed it home to make it 70-68 off a lob from Brownlee. And finally, Jay Jay Helterbrand scored his first field goal of the series on a lay-up to tie things up at 70-all with under 8 minutes to spare.

Up and Down. Until the End

Knowing the importance of a victory in Game 4, both teams engaged on a close slugfest as the teams took turns in either taking the lead and tying the score. Both imports played essential roles for their teams as they delivered the heavy blows in the closing minutes of the game.
Then came the final two minutes which began with Japeth Aguilar slamming it home anew plus a bonus free throw off a Cliff Hodge foul to give Ginebra, an 81-78 lead which was followed by Noman Black calling an important timeout. Allen Durham then had the chance to tie the score again after scoring inside while drawing a foul but missed a free throw, again. After several misses by both teams, Durham found an open Baser Amer who in turn, drained one of the most important treys of his young career to give the lead back to the Bolts, at 83-81 with 1:18 left on the clock.  Justin Brownlee tied the game with a pair of charities but it was Allen Durham’s basket with 47 seconds that gave Meralco the lead and the WIN as Ginebra missed several opportunities to tie or even take the win- even missing the opportunity to draw out a play with under 20 ticks left with a timeout. No timeout. No play was drawn out. Missed baskets. Missed opportunities. Everything is back to zero.

The Numbers

Allen Durham, yet again, led the way for Meralco with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Chirs Newsome finally broke out of his slump to score 18 points and grab 11 rebounds. Grandpa Raynel Hugnatan contributed 14 points off the bench. Exactly like they did in Game 3, the Bolts shot better from rainbow distance in Game 4, making 8 of their 19 shots from that area. They also held a 13-9 advantage in the second-chance points. Irony, isn’t it?
For the defending champions, Justin Brownlee had 34 points while Joe Devance added 15 but nobody else followed suit and that doomed Tim Cone and the rest of the Gin Kings as they turned the ball over, 19 times, again. They were also out-rebounded, 17-12 on the offensive end- by the smaller Meralco players. Again, irony, isn’t it?
Scores:
Meralco
Durham 28, Newsome 18, Hugnatan 14, Amer 11, Hodge 7, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Caram 2, Lanete 1, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, De Ocampo 0, Tolomia 0
Ginebra
Brownlee 34, Devance 15, Caguioa 8, J. Aguilar 7, Slaughter 6, Thompson 4, Cruz 4, Ferrer 3, Helterbrand 2, Tenorio 0, Mercado 0, Jamito 0, Mariano 0. R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Quarter scoring
17-17, 41-40, 68-63, 85-83

By the Numbers: 3 Electrifying Reasons Why Sweep is No More for Ginebra

And they can only blame themselves for it

LA Tenorio had 5 of Ginebra’s 19 turnovers in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau) 
After winning the first two games of the best-of-7 finals series, a sweep was inevitable for the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. In fact, even after the defending champions dominated the series opener, there were already predictions being made by fans that the Gin Kings would sweep the series and take their second successive Governors’ Cup championship in a snap. Nope. No sweep. No celebration for the Gin Kings just yet as the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch in time for Game 3 and beat the champs, 94-81 to extend this series to a Game 5, to say the least.
There were many things that went terribly wrong for Ginebra but let us focus on the three main reasons that doomed them in Game 3 and their chances for a sweep:

41 Heavy Minutes for Justin Brownlee

Time and again, Game 3 saw the Gin Kings tendency to rely on their import, Justin Brownlee who had to play for 41 minutes last night. 
That- despite the fact that Brownlee wasn’t shooting efficiently the entire game as he only made 7 of 20 field goals en route to finishing 15 points, his lowest in the series, so far. He also missed 3 of his 4 attempts from deep and also turned the ball over, 3 times.  
This failed Ginebra in many ways primarily because it took away the height advantage that the Gin Kings hold against the Bolts as the Twin Towers of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar played for 29 and 28 minutes respectively Although both giants combined for 26 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, they could have produced more had Tim Cone employed to give them more minutes. But that was Tim Cone’s call to make. 

19 Turnovers

In any game of basketball at any given league, you turn the ball over, you lose an opportunity to score and you give your opponents that opportunity to score at the other end. That was what exactly happened last night. 
The Bolts forced Ginebra to uncharacteristically commit 19 turnovers which the former converted into 14 points. LA Tenorio had 5 of those miscues. Those 19 turnovers can be looked at two different ways: either Meralco was defending well or, the Gin Kings were occasionally careless every time they had the possession of the orange. Either way, turnovers hurt them in Game 3 and will hurt them tomorrow if they control their turnover number.

10 Offensive Rebounds

One evidence that the Gin Kings failed to take advantage of their height advantage in Game 3: they weren’t aggressive in getting those offensive rebounds as they only managed to grab 10 rebounds on the offensive end. The Bolts, smaller team, grabbed 17 offensive boards. The only plus point in this was that Ginebra was the more aggressive team in terms of scoring more on those second chances as evident by their 13-7 advantage in second-chance points. 

Conclusion

Make no mistake, folks. The Gin Kings are expected to go all-out come tomorrow’s Game 4 and when that happens, the Bolts can only pray that their threes will hit their target because if not, then the balloon and the confetti will fall upon the fans come Game 5 at the Philippine Arena- assuming that Ginebra goes on to win Game 5, too. 

Hugnatan’s 7 Threes, Durham’s 38 Points Lift Bolts in Game 3

Meralco prevents getting swept after Hugnatan provided the needed voltage from outside

Meralco Bolts' Reynel Hugnatan
Reynel Hugnatan shot 58% from beyond the arc in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

With the title almost upon their reach, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings need two things: make sure that they win Game and secondly, not just win Game 3 but, dominate it to the point that it will make the Meralco Bolts desperate. 

For the Bolts on the other side, winning Game 3 is the first step towards keeping their championship aspirations alive. The next step? Well, keep on winning the next 3 games and the championship is their- that if they are able to stop shooting bricks and start hitting their target: the basket.
Just when the defending champions thought they could finally celebrate on Friday,  they were terribly wrong as Allen Durham AND Reynel Hugnatan sparked the Bolts after Meralco scored a 94-81 Game 3 win that put the Bolts back into the series, only trailing 2-1 heading into Friday’s Game 4.

Meralco Faltered and Recovered. 

Both teams started out flat during the first three minutes of Game 3 but once Scottie Thompson hit his first field goal, the Gin Kings held the Bolts to only 3 points in the first 4 minutes of the first quarter as Meralco fell 8-3 which was the reason why Norman Black called a timeout. Desperate to get anything going, the Bolts went to attack the paint only to be blocked by Ginebra defenders. Meralco was able to score a few possessions later but they couldn’t attack the shaded nor shoot from the outside as Japeth Aguilar’s inside basket gave Gin Kings, a 14-5 edge with under 5 minutes to go. 
Back to back treys from Reynel Hunatan and Anjo Caram brought the Bolts within 3, at 14-11. The Gin Kings answered right back with a three of their own but Hugnatan took it back with another trey of his own. Caram added another long-distance bomb to make it 19-18 with under 2 to play in the first quarter. He made a free throw to tie the score at 19-all. Both teams tied at 21 apiece after the first minutes of action as the duo of Hugnatan and Caram along with Allen Durham kept the Bolts within striking distance.

Meralco went back into it: Shooting Bricks

Greg Slaughter has already outscored himself in Game 2 when he scored 4 points during the opening moments of the second quarter as Justin Brownlee drained one from deep to make it 27-23. But Meralco roared back into it as Garvo Lanete’s lay-up gave the Bolts the lead, at 28-27 which was followed by Tim Cone calling a timeout. However, right after the champs regained the lead, the Bolts went back to their bad habits: shooting bricks especially from beyond the three-point land, an area where the Bolts made 4 of 8 attempts back in the first quarter. That Meralco slump enabled Ginebra to re-established a 7-point advantage with 5:50 left before intermission. 
Despite that, the Bolts were able to get themselves back within striking distance after they went on a scoring which was highlighted by a Hugnatan trey which made it 44-42 approaching the closing minutes of the first half as Ginebra carried a 47-46 lead into the break. 

Numbers at the Half

After scoring just 3 points in the previous game, Greg Slaughter already had 9 points after the first two quarters to lead the defending champions. His other half of Ginebra’s Twin Towers, Japeth Aguilar also had 9 at halftime while import Justin Brownlee added 8 points. Thanks to their height advantage, the Gin Kings were able to take advantage of their offensive boards which in turn, they converted to 9-second-chance points. They also held a 7-5 advantage in points scored off turnovers. 
Allen Durham meanwhile scored 15 first-half points to lead all scorers to go along with his 10 rebounds but it was the 12 points of Reynel Hugnatan which allowed the Bolts stick around. Both teams had a very contrasting performance in the 3-point line as the Bolts scored 6 of 18 from outside which was a far cry to Ginebra’s 2 of 12 from that area. 

Third Quarter: A Roller Coaster Ride

The first 3 minutes of the second half was an up and down battle both teams as the lead switched hands twice before LA Tenorio made 52-48 with a 3-point shot although he was called for a traveling violation on the next Ginebra possession. Inconsistency went back to hurt Meralco as they fell behind by 6 points during the next minutes until LA  Tenorio’s fastbreak lay-up made it 60-52 approaching the 5-minute mark of the third quarter. 
Coming off a timeout, Meralco unleashed an 8-0 run to tie the score at 60-all. After Ginebra gained the lead back momentarily, Reynel Hugnatan added another one from long distance and Allen Durham added a pair of charities to put the Bolts up, 66-64 with barely a minute before the end of the 3rd period.

Meralco’s Stuck Around 

Joe Devance and Justin Brownlee each nailed a three-pointer to open the 4th quarter as Norman Black immediately called a timeout to avoid any more damage as the crowd darlings had regained the lead once more. Garvo Lanete broke Meralco’s scoring drought with a trey but Greg Slaughter continued to pour in the points. Lanete later added another inside basket to bring his team with 1, at 74-73 with 8 minutes remaining in the game as the Bolts began to turn the ball over anew. Meralco later regained the lead on Allen Durham’s dunk but Japeth Aguilar gave it back to Ginebra upon completing a 3-point play.
A technical foul was called on Japeth Aguilar and Meralco made the technical free throw to be followed by an Allen Durham basket and another, yes, another long-distance bomb from Reynel Hugnatan to put the Bolts up, 83-77 with under 4 minutes to play as Ginebra called another timeout.
Durham then blocked Justin Brownlee and scored on a 3-point play to give the Bolts, a 9-point cushion. LA Tenorio scored on a three-pointer but Hugnatan handed out a nice dish to Durham who made the basket to keep it an 8-point  for the Bolts heading into the final 2 minutes of the game. And, Ginebra left Jared Dillinger beyond the arc and they paid the price as Dillinger finally nailed one from outside put the Bolts up by 11. 

The Numbers that Won and Lost the Games

Justin Brownlee played his yet best game of the series as he finished with 38 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks. But it was Reyenel Hugnatan’s 22 points, 21 on threes, proved to be the dagger that was buried in the hearts of the Ginerba faithfuls as he provided the needed spark that wasn’t coming from the rest of the Bolts. Key to victory for Meralco? Simple. 3-point shooting. They made 11 of 31 from deep.
Justin Brownlee was limited to 15 points on 7 of 20 field goal shooting while LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar each had 14 points. Even though Ginebra was shooting better throughout the game, their 19 turnovers cost them a chance to get a commanding 3-0 series lead. 
Scores:
Meralco 
Durham 38, Hugnatan 22, Dillingr 9, Lanete 8, Caram 7, Newsome 7, Hodge 3, Amer 0, De Ocampo 0, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0
Ginebra
Brownlee 15, Tenorio 14, J. Aguilar 14, Slaughter 12, Thompson 10, Devance 8, Caguioa 8, Mercado 0, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Quarter scoring:
21-21, 46-47, 66-64, 94-81

Best Import Goes to Durham but Ginebra Takes Game 2

Tenorio’s heroics moved the Gin Kings two wins away from another title

Japeth Aguilar picked up the slack left by a struggling Greg Slaughter. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

One squad is aiming to take another step closer to the championship. On the other side, another team is aiming to regain their shooting touch after shooting bricks especially from the outside in the series opener. 
After a dominant win the last time around, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings walk into Game 2 with one goal: bury the Meralco Bolts into a 0-2 hole.The only question: Will the defending champions dominate the Bolts like they did after a 102-87 victory in the previous encounter? Or will Jared Dillinger hit his targets this time around after going 1 of 9 from the rainbow country last Friday?
Prior to tip-off, Allen Durham officially received his second consecutive Best Import award while Greg Slaughter won the Best Player of the Conference after missing a big chunk of last season after being advised by doctors to undergo a season-ending surgery for an injury.
With the Meralco Bolts yet again, settling to take more outside shots which yet again, mostly missed, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, through the late game heroics of one of the smallest guys on the court, LA “Tinyente” Tenorio, were able to come through with an 86-76 victory over the Bolts to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 championship series.
The offense of both squads started out flat as the score was tied at 4 apiece 4 minutes into the opening quarter. Later, a double-alley-loop play that was finished by an Allen Durham dunk gave the Bolts, a 4-point edge which was followed by a Ginebra timeout. 
Ginebra tied the game at 8 apiece but then Meralco went on a 9-0 run which was highlighted by a three-pointer by Jared Dillinger and a lay-up by Cliff Hodge to give the Bolts, a 17-8 advantage with under 5 minutes to go as Tim Cone called for another timeout. The Gin Kings responded with 6 unanswered points which narrowed the gap to 17-14. Both teams were able to pick up the pace the rest of the quarter as Meralco held a 24-18 lead after 1. Ginebra had yet to click from outside while Meralco already 2 of their 3 attempts from deep in the first quarter alone: one from Dillinger and the other one from Mike Tolomia.
Garvo Lanete began the second quarter by making a three-pointer, increasing the Bolts’ lead to 9 anew but Ginebra refused to be buried early on as the Gin Kings clamped down on D and scored the next 6 points to come within 3, at 27-24 on Mark Caguioa’s basket and Norman Black called a timeout.Then, Kevin Ferrer, the masked man of the Gin Kings, buried a trey to give the lead back to Ginebra, 31-27 with 6:07 to go as Ginebra was in a middle of a 13-0 scoring blast which held Meralco scoreless for almost 3 minutes. 
Finally, the Bolts broke their silence after Allen Durham scored on the inside but turnovers and taking contested shots mired their offense which hampered them too back in Game 1. Fortunately, Baser Amer followed 2 consecutive baskets by Durham with a lay-up of his own to tie the game at 33 all with under 5 minutes before the halftime break. Ginebra then took advantage of their heights as they scored on the 3 different possessions which gave them a 5 point lead with under 2 minutes to play in the first half. Both squads walked into their respective locker rooms for the halftime break with Ginebra holding a slim margin, at 40-37.
Japeth Aguilar led the way for the champs with 10 points and 5 rebounds while Justin Brownlee had 7 points and 7 boards in the first two quarters. Bench production was one of the major keys for the Gin Kings in the first half as the bench of Ginebra was led by Mark “The Spark” Caguioa’s 6 points.
Allen Durham, officially a 2-time Best Import awardee, had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the first half. Chris Newsome had already surpassed his points total in Game 1 as he already had 8 in the first half of Game 2 on 4 of 5 field goal shooting. Aside from shooting better than they did in the series opener, Meralco was also able to take advantage of their opportunities to score on the break as evidenced by their 10 fastbreak points.
Allen Durham began the 2nd half by attacking the paint but Ginebra defenders were able to block him and force another Meralco turnover in the process. 
Both teams struggled to get anything going during the first two minutes of the quarter until Baser Amer broke the dry spell on a floater to bring his team with 1 as Allen Durham drained the Bolts’ first two charities of the game to bring Meralco up, 41-40. 
Off a Ginebra miss, Chris Newsome threw a lob to Allen Durham who finished the play with a slam to make it 43-40 as the Gin Kins remained scoreless for almost 4 minutes during that time- a dry spell that was finally broken by Japeth Aguilar who slammed it home. On the next Meralco possession, Ranidel De Ocampo nailed his first trey in two games to make it 48-42. 
Later in the quarter when Meralco was up by 4 points, Scottie Thompson, who was miserable in the free throw line drained a three-pointer to decrease the lead to 51-52 but Durham answered right back with 4 straight points. 
Both teams then missed most of their next shots until Justin Brownlee tied the game at 57 all with under a minute to play in the third quarter but Garvo added another three-pointer during the closing moments of the quarter to give the Bolts, a 62,57 going into the fourth period. After attempting ZERO free throws in the entire first half, Meralco shot 11 of 13 free throws in the 3rd quarter alone.
The Gin Kings scored the first 7 points to open the final quarter to regain the lead, at 64-62 only to be answered by a long 2 from Ranidel De Ocampo to tie the game then Baser Amer made it 66-64 on another jumper during the early minutes of the quarter. A sprinting Amer later gave the Bolts, a 73-67 edge on a lay-up which led to Tim Cone calling a timeout approaching the 7-minute mark of the 4th quarter. Meralco still struggled to make their threes like they did in the first game as Justin Brownlee brought Ginebra just down at 75-73 entering the final 4 minutes of the game- a play which forced Norman Black to call a timeout. Refusing to disappear, Justin Brownlee added an inside basket to tie the game at 75 all as LA Tenorio gave the Gin Kings their first taste of the lead in a very long time on a lay-up that made it 77-75 with under 3 to play.
With Ginebra holding a slim margin, Scottie Thompson was fouled by Baser Amer, was sent to the free throw line and drained both charities which increased the lead to 4 with 1:42 to play, to the delight of the fans. Around that time, the defense of Ginebra was actually holding Meralco scoreless for more than 4 minutes until RDO lifted the spell by draining a free throw.
After Jared Dillinger uncharacteristically missed two freebies, the Gin Kings wasted away the clock then the ball landed at the hands of Lewis Alfred Tenorio who drained a long one- with barely 2 seconds left on their shot clock, to give the champs, a 76-62 advantage with 67 seconds left on the clock.To make things worse, Baser Amer tripped and turned the ball over coming off a timeout and the Bolts were forced to foul. Tenorio drained both free throws as the lead ballooned to 76-64 with barely a minute to play. After yet again, another Meralco miss, Justin Brownlee drained another pair of charities to eliminate any chances of a comeback for the Bolts.
Justin Brownlee followed up his performance in Game 1 with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 7 in yet again, another all-around game. Japeth Aguilar stepped up big time to make up for the struggles of Greg Slaughter as the former had 16 points and 8 boards. Slaughter was limited to three points on 1 of 6 field goal shooting Tenorio, arguably the hero of Game 2, added 14 points but had to bleed for his points as he made 5 of his 12 shots which include 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. So how did the Gin Kings win this game despite the struggles from notable players? Anwer: Defense. They limited the Bolts to only make a lowly 36% of their 79 attempts which also include a horrible 21% three-point shooting.
Allen Durham, despite his 25 points and 22 rebounds, failed to knot the series at one game apiece as the Bolts will have two games to prepare for Game 3 especially if they want to make a series out of this one. Both Baser Amer and Ranidel De Ocampo had 10 points each while Jared Dillinger was clanking all night along as he only made 1 out of 7 field goal attempts which a three, one of his 5 attempts from that area. No wonder why they lost. Again.
Scores:
Ginebra
Brownlee 19, J. Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Mercado 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Slaughter 3, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0. R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Meralco
Durham 25, Amer 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 9, Newsome 8, Lanete 6, Dillinger 5, Tolomia 3, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Faundo 0
Quarter scoring:
18-24, 40-37, 52-62, 86-76

By the Numbers: JD and RDO Must Stop Shooting Bricks

The Bolts will need more from these sharpshooters if they are to challenge the champs.

The Bolts were struggling miserably to get anything going in Game 1. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Just imagine how Shaquille O’ Neal’s free throw shooting was especially during his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers and compare it with the 3-point shooting of the entire Meralco Bolts team in Game 1 of the best-of-7 championship series between the Bolts and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and, tell this basketball pundit what exactly did you see. 
From one point of view, the Bolts’ outrageous shooting, especially from the rainbow country during their defeat in Game 1, is what will doom them if they cannot fix that flaw. And let’s face it, with the tremendous disadvantage that the players of Norman Black are facing against the giants of Ginebra which was one of the reasons why Meralco struggled to attack the basket, the other alternative which Meralco could have employed to score was to make it rain from deep and, they failed it. Horribly.
If you want to see and understand how unacceptable the Bolts were performing from the outside  in Game 1 which made Norman Black really mad,  let’s check out the numbers that were produced by two of Meralco’s sharpshooters, Jared Dillinger and Ranidel De Ocampo:

Jared Dillinger:

6 points
1 of 9 from three-point line
30 minutes

Ranidel De Ocampo:

8 points
0 of 4 from the three-point line
28 minutes
Dillinger and RDO combined for 14 points and 1 of 13 shooting from beyond the arc. If not to Allen Durham’s 27 points who also missed all of his 5 attempts from that specific area, the final margin would have been much bigger. 

Conclusion:

If the Meralco Bolts want to avenge last year’s Finals loss that they endured from the hands of Justin Brownlee and the rest of the Gin Kings, Dillinger and RDO will need to perform exactly like they did during the Bolts’ 3-game sweep of the Star Hotshots in their semifinal series particularly during Game 3 when the Hotshots came close to forcing a Game 4 if not to the timely made treys by both shooters especially in the 4th quarter and in the extra period. 
Below are the numbers of both Dillinger and RDO in clinching Game 3 against the Hotshots:

Dillinger:

10 points
2 of 4 from the three-point line

De Ocampo:

13 points
2 of 7 from the three-point line
See? The Bolts had better chances whenever both Jared Dillinger and Ranidel De Ocampo were making more of their attempts from deep rather than missing most of their shots. Why? If both guys fail to figure it out to make it rain instead of shooting bricks as if they are Dwight Howard, then it will be a short series after all. 
Keep in mind, folks: Justin Brownlee can make it rain, too- as we all saw last year at the end of Game 6. In short, for the Bolts to be able to keep up with Ginebra, they can start by making more threes rather than taking shots and clanking them. 
In other words, take smarter shots, right?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Here’s 3 Reasons Why Ginebra Will Win Again in Game 2

Make no mistake, Folks. Not even a reloaded Bolts team can dethrone the champs.

Game 1 was a glimpse of what we can expect from the Gin Kings. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If anything, the Gin Kings were just beginning to scratch the surface when they drew the first blood in the best-of-7 championship series against the Meralco Bolts after Ginebra held a double-digit lead and won, 102-87 in front of mostly pro-Ginebra fans in Lucena. 
If you were watching the game, then you know how things transpired beginning from the very moment Japeth Aguilar slammed it home during the early minutes of the first quarter to energize the crowd. During the big chunk of the game, dominance had been the theme of the game as the Bolts fell behind, came back in the 3rd quarter, but faltered for good in the 4th quarter. 
If the Bolts go on to lose Game 2, too, if they don’t start making smarter shot selections, it will be a SWEEP for the Gin Kings.
Why sweep? Let this basketball pundit on wheels explain to you the reasons why Ginebra will win the championship in 4 games, 5 at max:

1. Height is Might

This is perhaps one of the most obvious advantages that Ginebra has over Meralco. Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, dubbed as the Gin Kings’ Twin Towers, stand 7 feet and 6 feet 9 inches respectively. Joe Devance is not far away with a 6 feet 7 inches height. Import Justin Brownlee also stands at 6 feet 7 inches. So, literally and figuratively speaking, the big men of Ginebra are indeed BIG MEN. 
As painful as it is to read, Allen Durham only stands at 6 feet 6 inches, tied as being the tallest Bolt player aside from Bryan Faundo, Kelly Nabong who is suspended indefinitely, and Ranidel De Ocampo whom we all know is more of a 3 than 4 or 5. The next tallest? The injured Ken Bono. 
Now you know why Ginebra also won the rebounding battle in Game 1, holding a 59-40 rebounding edge. 

2. Ginebra is More DISCIPLINED

If you are playing for the winningest coach in the history of the PBA in Tim Cone, then you must be disciplined. Why? Discipline attracts success better than talent alone. 
In Game 1, Ginebra was the more disciplined squad with regards to their shot selection. Unlike the Bolts who were missing more than half of their attempts especially from rainbow country, Ginebra made 40 of their 87 shot attempts- good enough for a respectable 45% field goal shooting. And since they were in the lead almost throughout the series opener, the defending champs knew there was no need to rush those attempts from the three-point line as shown by their 7 of 18 shooting from long distance. 
Meralco on the other hand, had 8 makes from three but took 34 tries. No wonder why Norman Black was mad. 

3. The Brownlee Effect

The Bolts will never forget Justin Brownlee for that buzzer-beating trey in last season’s Game 6 of the Governors’ Cup Finals which clinched Ginebra’s first title in 8 years. Sure, Allen Durham is poised to win a second successive Best Import award but Justin Brownlee’s familiarity and longevity with the Gin Kings and the system of Tim Cone is one of the many reasons why Ginebra was able to reach the Finals anew. In addition to this, the bond that Brownlee has developed with the rest of the Ginebra players plays an important role especially in this series primarily because of the presence of the trust among players, especially during clutch situations.  

Conclusion:

While we can expect a Meralco fightback come Game 2, while we can expect multiple adjustments from both teams, one thing is certain: whether you’re a die-hard fan of the Gin Kings or a bitter hater, Ginebra, one way or another, will win this season’s Governors’ Cup championship. It’s not because of the free throws disparity or the fouls. It’s not because of the lack of talent of the Bolts. It’s simply because of the fact that Ginebra is a taller and a well-coached team compared to Meralco. 

And, let’s not forget the masked man, Kevin Ferrer. 

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By the Numbers: Rebounds, Defense and Slaughter Fuel Ginebra to Game 1 Win

Justin Brownlee may have scored 32 but the Gin Kings were more than just about Brownlee

Defense was one of the reasons why the Gin Kings took Game 1. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Just when everyone, especially the fans of the Meralco Bolts, thought that having a longer preparation time heading into Game 1 was an advantage for Norman Black and his boys, everyone was dead wrong. 
After Japeth Aguilar dunked the ball for Ginebra’s second basket of the game, it was already a breakaway for the Gin Kings as they led the rest of the way, with a lead which was trimmed down to 3 once during the dying seconds of the 3rd quarter but that was the closest Meralco came within as they faltered in the 4th and fell behind by as much as 21. Result: a 102-87 victory over the defending champions over the league-leading Bolts to open the best-of-7 championship series of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
While many had already expected this kind of attitude from Ginebra considering how their series against Talk N Text ended, many were shocked and even disappointed with the Bolts’ play all throughout last night and even this basketball pundit was shocked by the fact that Meralco attempted 34 long distance bombs with only 8 hitting the target. That was one ugly shooting night for Meralco but let’s not focus on the mistakes of the Bolts. 
Below are the things that Ginebra did right which propelled them to win Game 1 in Lucena:

59 Rebounds for Ginebra

One of the major categories which were dominated by the Gin Kings last night was the battle for the rebounds. As the final buzzer sounded in Lucena, Ginebra walked away with a 59-40 rebounding advantage. 21 of those 59 rebounds were on the offensive end which also enabled the Gin Kings to score 16 second-chance points. Justin Brownlee for one had 19 rebounds as part of his dominant performance. 

39% Field Goal Shooting for Meralco

If anything, it was Ginebra’s defense that proved to be the difference in last night’s victory. Why? They forced the Bolts to shoot poorly anywhere on the court whether it was a 2-point basket or one from long distance. Meralco couldn’t keep anything going even after coming within single digit heading into the final quarter. 
The Result: Ginebra’s great D limited Meralco to 39% field goal shooting and that includes a forgettable 8 out of 34 3-point shooting. Jared Dillinger was 2 out of 9 from beyond the arc while Ranidel De Ocampo failed to convert any of his 4 attempts from the same area. Even Allen Durham was clanking all night from deep, missing all of his 5 attempts from rainbow country. Meralco’s struggles on the offensive end were also the reason why Ginebra was able to grab 59 rebounds in the first place. 

14 Points for GregZilla

Although he shot 5 out of 13 in the field, we cannot simply deny the fact that Greg Slaughter’s 14 points to lead the bench players of Time Cone were essential to Ginebra’s victory. 
Why? 
Height is might, remember? And Slaughter took advantage of his advantage over every big man that Norman Black threw against him. Result: GregZilla grabbed 8 rebounds to go along with his 14 points and even blocked 2 Meralco baskets in 21 minutes of action. That is what we call efficiency, folks.

Conclusion:

Both teams will have a day to prepare for Game 2 which is scheduled to take place tomorrow. If Meralco wants to get back at Ginebra, and have a chance to dethrone the champs, shooting better is a must and so is winning Game 2. 
For Ginebra, they already drew the first blood in the series. Keep doing the right things and the back-to-back championships will be theirs to take. 

Justin Brownlee had Another All-Around Performance to Lead the Gin Kings to Game 1 Win

Ginebra Pounds on Rested Bolts to Take Game 1

Ginebra Justin BRownlee
Justin Brownlee outplayed Allen Durham right from the first quarter (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

After sitting out last year’s encounter, Jared Dillinger finally got his wish: a rematch between the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings against the reloaded Meralco Bolts for the Governors’ Cup championship. 
While both squads are claiming that this will be a different series compared to last year’s series which was won by the Gin Kings in Game 6 after Justin Brownlee’s buzzer-beating trey, some things will remain the same. For starters, we can expect Allen Durham to go out there with the same level of intensity which carried the Bolts to their first ever Finals appearance last year. 
On the other side, both teams have received upgrades over the course of the last 12 months. For Ginebra, Greg laughter is back and playing again with the Gin Kings while the Bolts got Ranidel De Ocampo whom they got from a trade with the Talk N Text KaTropa. So yes, this is going to be a different series all throughout.

Here we go, folks. Game 1. Gin Kings. Bolts. Race to 4 Wins for the Championship.

Coming off their heated series against the TNT KaTropa, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings took off early in the first quarter and they held a double-digit that they never squandered as they took Game 1 of the best-of-7 championship series after defeating the Meralco Bolts, 102-87
After Baser Amer drained the first two points of the Bolts, Japeth Aguilar rose up for an electrifying dunk to start things out in Game 1. 
Both teams were able to score easily during the early minutes of the opening quarter as Chris Newsome came out running on the break and scored on a dunk to make 11-10, in favor of the Bolts. However, both squads were clanking most of their attempts from outside as they combined for 2 of 7 3-point field goal shooting during the first 7 minutes of the game. 
Despite their respective struggles from the three-point line, both the Bolts and the Gin Kings were able to make most of their baskets as Ginebra slowly began to run away as Justin Brownlee scored on a dunk plus a foul and made the ensuing free throw to give the crowd darlings a 9-point lead as Greg Slaughter finished the first quarter with another inside shot to make it 28-18 after the first 12 minutes of play. Ginebra shot 61% in the field as compared to Meralco who only made 32% of their shot attempts in the first quarter.
By the time the second quarter came along, Ginebra continued their scoring blast as the lead ballooned to 17, at 40-23 with under 9 minutes to play in the first half, prompting a much-needed timeout from Norman Black. Meralco made a run to cut the deficit down to 12 but the masked man, Kevin Ferrer drained a three-point to put the lead back to 15, at 45-30 approaching the 6:00 mark of the 2nd quarter. Meralco failed to get any sort of momentum during the rest of the quarter as the deficit never went beyond 12 points as Ginebra led by 14, at 49-35 at the half. 
Justin Brownlee, who had 46 points in Ginebra’s win against Talk N Text, had 13 points and 11 boards to lead the Gin Kings in the first half while Japeth Aguilar had 9 markers. Ginebra made the most of their opportunities as they made 46% of their field goal attempts in the first including 33% from beyond the arc. Turnovers remained a problem for the Gin Kings as they had 9 turnovers in the first 2 quarters of Game 1 as compared to the Bolts who only turned the ball over, 7 times.
Allen Durham was the lone bright light for Meralco as he led the Bolts with 10 points in the first half. Nobody followed Durham’s lead as Chris Newsome only had 6 points on 3 of 9 shooting while Jared Dillinger had to settle with a 1 of 6 shooting from the 3-point line. As a team, Meralco only made 2 out of their 17 attempts from outside and that was one of the reasons why the Bolts were never in the game, at least in the first half. 
Whatever Norman Black yelled about during the break, it certainly hit the Bolts as they scored the first 4 points of the 2nd half to come within 10 points, 49-39 which forced Tim Cone to call an early timeout with barely a minute in the 3rd quarter. Capitalizing on Meralco’s struggles plus turnovers, LA Tenorio scored on 2 consecutive lay-ups to put Ginebra up, at 61-45 which led to another timeout from Norman Black. 
Slowly but surely Meralco was able to chip away from the deficit as Cliff Hodge scored on an inside basket to bring down the deficit to single digit, at 65-57 with under 4 minutes to play in the 3rd. Then, Allen Durham finished an alley-oop play from a Mike Tolomia lob to bring his team within 6. Mike Tolomia scored on a 4-point play in the dying seconds of the 3rd but Greg Slaughter slammed it home to give Ginebra, a 77-71 lead entering the 4th quarter. 
Sol Mercado drained one from outside to score Ginebra’s first three points of the 4th period to put the lead back to double digits. As for the Bolts, they started to miss their shots and they began making mistakes which allowed Ginebra to run away and take a 13-point lead heading into a Meralco timeout with 8:09 left on the clock. Kevin Ferrer was later left wide open in the three-point line, made the shot, gave the Gin Kings a 91-75 advantage and forced, yet again, another Meralco timeout. Justin Brownlee later made another trey for Ginebra to give his team, a 21-point lead as the defending champions were never threatened the rest of the way.
Justin Brownlee scored 32 points, had 19 rebounds and 6 assists. Ginebra’s Twin Towers of Japeth Aguilar and Greg showed that height is might indeed as they scored 15 and 14 respectively. The Gin Kings were shooting better in the field, making 47% of their 87 attempts. They also had a 19-8 edge in fastbreak points and a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points.
Meanwhile, Allen Durham, the reigning Best Import, had 27 points and 14 boards to lead the Bolts who faded away in the 4th quarter coming back alive in the closing minutes of the 3rd frame. Baser Amer added 14 while newcomer Mike Tolomia added 10 off the bench. One of the reasons why Meralco fell behind early on and even faltered after coming back into the game was their three-point shooting. 
Jared Dillinger only made one of his 9 attempts from long distance. Ranidel De Ocampo was even worst, missing ALL of his 4 attempts from deep. As a result, the Bolts only made 23% of their shot attempts from long distance, a far cry to Ginebra’s 38% 3-point shooting.
Scores:
Ginebra – 102
Brownlee 32, J. Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Devance 9, Mercado 7, Thompson 2, Caguioa 2, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Meralco – 87
Durham 27, Amer 14, Tolomia 10, Hodge 8, De Ocampo 8, Newsome 6, Dillinger 6, Lanete 6, Hugnatan 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Caram 0, Faundo 0
Quarter Scoring:
29-18, 49-35, 77-71, 102-87

By the Numbers: Ginebra’s Big Numbers from Last Night’s Game 46, 25, 21

Ginebra needed big numbers from 3 players to eliminate an import-less TNT team

Coach Tim Cone knows one thing: Ginebra will need more of those numbers come the Finals. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Every basketball fan knew that from the moment Glen Rice Jr. got himself ejected after pushing down Ginebra rookie, Kevin Ferrer and even almost hit the latter with the ball, it would have a rippling effect on the flow of the ballgame. 
For the fans of the defending champions, an ejected TNT import meant that their team could easily score and take the life out of Nash Racela and the rest of the KaTropa. 
Instead, Talk N Text was able to hold onto the lead despite the departure of their import and even built an 18-point lead only to have Ginebra erase it completely as the Gin Kings completely outplayed Jayson Castro and company in the second half which ended with a 115-105 Ginebra win over the fading TNT KaTropa that cemented a Finals rematch between the Gin Kings and the Meralco Bolts.
So, how did the Gin Kings fight they way back to finally eliminate a Talk N Text that was playing an all-Filipino crew? Answer: they needed  big numbers from these players to accomplish that feat:

Justin Brownlee- 46 Points

Okay. Let’s begin with the most obvious one. The ejection of Glen Rice Jr. benefited one specific Ginebra player the most: Justin Brownlee. 
By the end of  Game 4, Brownlee compiled 46 points, his new career’s best, on 15 of 23 field goal shooting which included 4 makes from the 3-point line. In fact, his 11-0 personal run in the 3rd quarter alone enabled Ginebra to get back into the game. But Brownlee was more than just scoring in last night’s victory. Aside from his 46 points, the Ginebra import also grabbed 10 boards and 5 assists while blocking 2 TNT shots in an all-around performance. 

LA Tenorio- 25 Points

While his backcourt partner, Scottie Thompson was held scoreless, LA Tenorio stepped like the “Tinyente” we all know used to know and love in the past, and scored 25 big points, many of those points came in during the pivotal second half run of Ginebra which enabled Ginebra to charge back from an 18-point hole. Tenorio’s 25 points were highlighted by 6 long-range bombs. 
In addition to this, “Tinyente” also had 7 assists, proving that he is still among the elite floor generals we have in the league right now. Although he turned the ball over on 6 occasions, that doesn’t change the fact that Tenorio was one of the reasons why Ginebra is back in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals for the second straight year, giving them a shot at winning back-to-back Governors’ Cup championships. 

Greg Slaughter- 21 Points

With fellow frontline players, Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar struggling to get anything going on offense, Greg Slaughter, the gentle giant off the bench, made 7 of his 8 shot attempts, on his way to finish the game with 21 points to lead the bench players of both squads. Like Brownlee, Slaughter’s 87% field goal shooting can be associated with the absence of Glen Rice Jr. and the subsequently fading away of the defense of Talk N Text, especially in the second half. Slaughter also had an efficient shooting night at the free throw line, making 7 of 9 charities. He also added 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in a remarkable defensive effort for the big man from Cebu. 
The trio of Brownlee, Tenorio and Slaughter combined for 92 of Ginebra’s 115 points. While it’s an impressive outing for the three of them, the rest of the Gin Kings need to improve especially with the Finals about to open on Friday. If they will continue to rely on three players to do all the dirty works in the floor against a vastly-improved Meralco team, Ginebra fans are in for a long Finals series. 
But knowing Tim Cone, he will find ways to have his team ready despite a shorter preparation period because whether you’re a Ginebra fan or not, Tim Cone is one of the reasons why Ginebra was able to win their first championships in 8 years and he will be one of the main reasons why Ginebra is back in the Finals again, facing the same team they’ve beaten last year. 

Comeback is REAL: Brownlee Score 46 Points to Lead Gin Kings

Ginebra Erased an 18-point Lead as Glen Rice Jr. got Ejected

The absence of Glen Rice Jr. was too much for TNT as Justin Brownlee scored 46 points. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Okay, folks. If you have seen how heated Game 3 was, how it was filled with fouls, including numerous technical fouls, how close the score was at the end of that tension-filled Game 3, then you can expect more of the same in Game 4 when the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings will gun for a return to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals while they will be facing off against the Meralco Bolts, a team they’ve beaten in last year’s Finals. 
On the other hand, Coach Nash Racela and the rest of the Talk N Text KaTropa will need all hands in to win this game and force a sudden death match on Tuesday. For that to happen, the KaTropa will need more than just another monstrous performance from their import, Glen Rice. Jr.
As Glen Rice Jr. walked out of the court and later, of the venue, the chances of a Ginebra victory increased remarkably. However, the Talk N Text KaTropa were able to hold on their own, for a short period of time as the Gin Kings stunned the KaTropa when the crowd favourites left nothing to chance after erasing an 18-point hole in the third quarter to win Game 4, at 115-105 to book their much-awaited Finals rematch with the Mealco Bolts.
Coming off their close encounter back in Game 3 of their best-of-5 semifinal series which ended in a 106-103 victory by the defending champions, both teams started off scoring against each other as the KaTropa built a 5-point lead 4 minutes into the game as Jayson Castro scored 7 points during that span. Then, Glen Rice Jr. made it 27-17 after draining jump shot just a few steps away from the 3-point line as Ryan Reyes and Moala Tautuaa joined forces to score TNT’s next 5 points to make it 32-17 which was followed by a timeout from Tim Cone. 
However, just when TNT was already leading, Glen Rice Jr. was ejected after pushing down Kevin Ferrer AND, throwing the ball which almost hit Ferrer in the face. Despite that, TNT was able to end the first quarter with the lead, at 43-32.
Knowing that the KaTropa were already without their high-scoring import, Ginebra slowly trimmed the deficit to 43-38 during the first 3 minutes of the second quarter. From that point on, turnovers plagued the offense of both teams as Ginebra was able to furthermore to push down the lead to 5 points but TNT was able to score thanks to the aggressiveness of Jayson Castro who completed a 3-point to play to make it 52-44 with under 7 minutes to play before halftime. Then, Tautuaa added a one-handed dunk to bring the lead up to double-digit. Roger Pogoy then drained a long-distance bomb to give the KaTropa, a 15-point advantage in the closing minutes of the first half as both teams headed into the break with TNT leading at 66 -52.
Troy Rosario top-scored TNT with 18 points in the first half while Jayson Castro added 14 points and 6 assists to lessen the effects of Glen Rice Jr.’s absence who had 2 points before getting thrown out. While both teams were shooting above 50% in the field, points scored off fastbreak opportunities propelled TNT into the lead during the first half as the KaTropa outscored Ginebra13-2 in fastbreak points. And, despite the absence of their import, TNT rebounders were able to outmuscle their Ginebra counterparts, holding a 22-15 rebounding edge.
Justin Brownlee had 18 points to lead the Gin Kings as LA Tenorio added 14 markers in the first half. One of the reasons why Ginebra failed to pound on the absence of Glen Rice Jr. was the fact that Ginebra’s offense was mired with 13 turnovers in the first half which the KaTropa converted to 16 points.
Right after Justin Brownlee dunked the ball during the first two minutes of the second half, Jayson Castro drained two charities to give TNT an 18-point advantage. However, LA Tenorio made a 3-point shot and Brownlee added two free throws to make it 72-59 with 8:33 to go as Nash Racela called a timeout to stop the bleeding. Then, Justin Brownlee went on personal 11-0 scoring blast to bring the lead down to 74-69 with under 7 minutes to play in the quarter. 
With Ginebra threatening to inch closer, Jayson Castro and Moala Tautua scored the 4 straight points to put TNT’s lead to 9, at 80-71 with under 4 minutes to go. TNT’s lead never went back to double digits during the remaining minutes of the 3rd quarter as both squads went into the final quarter with the KaTropa only leading by 6 points, at 86-80.
Kelly Williams opened the 4th quarter for TNT with an alley-oop dunk but Sol Mercado made another trey for Ginebra to bring the Gin Kings with 3 points, at 88-85. Then, the score was finally tied at 90 apiece after Justin Brownlee calmly drained two charities with under 10 minutes left in the game to force a puzzled Nash Racela to talk things out with his players because their 18-point lead had already evaporated. Mark Caguioa gave the Gin Kings the lead, at 92-90 after scoring on an inside shot only for Castro to add 2 free throws to tie the game anew, at 92 all. Justin Brownlee continued his scoring onslaught as he drained another one from outside and LA Tenorio scored on another inside basket to give the Gin Kings a 99-94 lead.
Exactly like they did back in the 3rd quarter, TNT struggled to make shots as they missed tons of open shots as LA Tenorio added trey to give Ginebra, a 10-point advantage with under 5 minutes left. Roger Pogoy finally broke the silence for TNT after scoring on the inside but the entire KaTropa team continued with their slump which was made worse by the ejection of Glen Rice Jr.
Justin Brownlee scored 46 BIG points to lead the Gin Kings. Former Ateneo Blue Eagles LA Tenorio and Greg Slaughter added 25 and 21 respectively while Sol Mercado added 11 points off the bench. As a team, the Gin Kings were able to make 13 out of their 32 attempts from deep while blocking 9 shots.
Without their high-scoring import, the rest of the KaTropa struggled all game long as they were lead by Troy Rosario with his 28 points to go along with his 10 rebounds. Jayson Castro had 26 points, 8 boards, and 9 dimes. The bad side of that impressive stat line was that Castro only made 9 of his 20 attempts.
Scores:
Ginebra – 115
Brownlee 46, Tenorio 25, Slaughter 21, Mercado 11, J. Aguilar 6, Ferrer 4, Caguioa 2, Thompson 0, Devance 0, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Cruiz 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
TNT – 105
Rosario 28, Castro 26, Pogoy 14, Semerad 12, Williams 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 4, Rice Jr. 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Hernandez 0, Lingganay 0, Seigle 0, Chua 0
Quarter scores:
32-41, 52-66, 80-86, 115-105

By the Numbers: 3 Disparities that Favored Ginebra in Game 3

Whether the Gin Kings will admit it or not, they had help. Lots of it.

Glen Rice Jr. torched the Ginebra with 44 points but couldn’t deliver in the end. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If you allow a player like Glen Rice Jr. to score 44 points and grab 22 rebounds including 9 offensive rebounds, then your defense is not working to perfection. It means that the player can find other ways to score. That was the case in last night’s Game 3 when Rice Jr. started to torch the defending champions, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings right from the tip-off as he scored 14 points in the first quarter alone. 
Despite this monstrous performance, the Gin Kings came out victorious as they beat the Talk N Text KaTropa, 106-103, which moved Ginebra one win away from returning to the Finals, should they win tomorrow’s Game 4.
In a game that was mired by numerous shoving matches between players of both teams which resulted in a number of technical fouls being called mostly against the KaTropa, in a game where the result wasn’t decided until the final buzzer when Glen Rice Jr. missed a 3-point shot that would have forced an overtime period, let’s put aside the emotions, the heat and take a look at the disparities that when you look at them, you’ll realize that these numbers had played important roles that propelled the Gin Kings to a 2-1 series lead:

31 First Quarter Points

In the 3 games of the series, the team who scored 31 points in the first quarter alone went on to win the game. Nothing beats having a high-scoring first quarter because it helps the team set the tone of the game early on. In the two games that Ginebra won so far, they reached 31 points in the first quarter which enabled them to build an early momentum. While Game 3 was not decided until the final buzzer, the 31 points of Ginebra in the first quarter enabled the crowd darlings to establish their offense.

28 Points from the Bench

Sure, TNT got 44 points from their import, Glen Rice Jr. but got little reinforcement especially from their bench players who only produced 15 points. The Ginebra bench troopers, on the other hand, were able to contribute more especially on the offensive end as they combined for 28 points. Greg Slaughter continued his stellar play with 19 points, including 9 of 12 free throw shooting, and 6 rebounds. This is a luxury Tim Cone enjoys because having a reliable set of bench players allows him to rest his starters, namely their import, Justin Brownlee who logged 44 minutes last night and scored 17 points. 

27 Free Throws in the First Half

Okay. This is one disparity that said to have triggered a halftime backlash between Alfrancis Chua and Nash Racela as both squads were walking into their respective locker rooms. Both gentlemen nearly got to blows but were separated by team officials and their respective players. Even PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa had to get in their way to make sure that no blood will be dropped. Imagine this: the Gin Kings were awarded 43 free throws, 27 of those in the first half alone. 
Just how big the disparity was in the free throws? 27-8. In the first half. Alone. While Tim Cone apparently didn’t say a thing when TNT was awarded 35 free throws back in Game 2, Cone was quick to explain that Ginebra was simply the more aggressive team which enabled them to fish more fouls from TNT defenders. As they say, what’s a Ginebra win without a little drama on the side, right?
The defending champions can seal a rematch with the Meralco Bolts in the Finals with a win tomorrow. In terms of firepower and talent, we all know that both teams are loaded with both firepower and talent. It’s never a question of who can produce more points. It’s more about who has the heart to win it all despite all the odds. One thing is for sure: We can all expect a more chaotic Game 4 tomorrow. 

Analyzing the Numbers that Enabled the Gin Kings to Run Away

How Ginebra Won Game 1: The Numbers

Glen Rice Jr. had to bleed for his points during the entire game (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If anything, their defense both in their lone quarterfinal game against then Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen and again in Game 1 against the Talk N Text KaTropa got the job done for the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings who took Game 1 by disorienting the offense of the KaTropa on a 121-94 victory to start their best-of-5 semifinal series. While defense was Tim Cone’s main weapon against a TNT that has a Jayson Castro who can score at will given the opportunity, there were other things that Gin Kings did right and efficiently which inched them 2 more wins of another Finals appearance. 

The Numbers:

54 

The bench players of Ginebra provided the needed reinforcement in last night’s victory as they combined for 54 points, outscoring their TNT counterparts who only scored 30 points. Greg Slaughter continued to prove that he is still a vital part of the Gin Kings’ core as he led the bench of Ginebra with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 BLOCKS, providing an effective performance on both sides of the court.  Mark “The Spark” Caguioa provided the spark in the 4th quarter as he scored 13 points in only 12 minutes of action while Jervy Cruz was able to regain his shooting touch as he added 10 points on an effective 5 of 7 field goal shooting. 
The production of the bench players enabled Tim Cone to limit the minutes of his starters with the lone exception of LA Tenorio who logged in 32 minutes in the game. Justin Brownlee didn’t even need to score more as he totaled 21 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes to lead the Gin Kings. The bench players’ production also enabled the Gin Kings to confuse the defenders of the KaTropa as almost every player that Tim Cone fielded contributed in other ways and not just by scoring. 

22

That was the total number of turnovers that Ginebra was able to force on the KaTropa. In fact,  those turnovers by Nash Racela’s wards are one of the many reasons why Castro and company weren’t a serious threat against the Gin Kings in the game as Ginebra was able to take advantage of the mistakes of TNT to score 23 points off those turnovers. Jayson Castro, known as a point guard with steady hands, turned the ball over 6 times while Glen Rice Jr. committed 7 of those 22 turnovers. If TNT doesn’t want an early vacation, they will need to take good care of the ball, make extra smart decisions when they have the possession. 
Otherwise, the Gin Kings will pound in on those costly turnovers. 

12

If you want to see the effectiveness of Ginebra’s defense last night, just take a look at the field goal shooting of KaTropa import, Glen Rice Jr. Of his 20 shot attempts, he missed 12 of those attempts including 4 of his 5 attempts from rainbow country. In effect, Rice Jr.’s struggles to score made life miserable for TNT throughout the entire as the defense of Ginebra also shut down the rest of the KaTropa’s starters Aside from their import, Roger Pogoy was miserably struggling too, missing 9 of his 13 attempts to score 12 points. 

Ginebra Leans on Defense to Take Game 1

The Gin Kings were never truly threatened throughout the game

Joe Devance co-led the balanced offense of Ginebra. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
For the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, slamming down the hopes of the San Miguel Beermen for a Grand Slam during their one-time quarterfinal date is nothing compared to having to face a dangerous team like the Talk N Text KaTropa in a best-of-5 series. 
Against the Beermen, they had a twice-to-beat advantage. Here in the semifinals, they start at 0. No advantages. No bonuses. If they win 3 games against TNT, then their hopes of winning back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles will be very much alive. As for the TNT KaTropa, their road towards getting back to the Finals begins here in Game 1, against the defending champions, a team they defeated early on in their last playing date for the elimination round.
The Ginebra Gin Kings went on multiple scoring runs, defended well and did not rely heavily on their import as the defending champions did everything right for most parts as they prevailed victorious in Game 1 after frustrating the Talk N Text KaTropa, 121-94.
Both teams started off running on offense as the Gin Kings began with a 4-0 spurt and then Jayson Castro scored the TNT’s first 5 points of the night. After a series of mixed made and missed shots by both squads which kept the score close for most parts, a three-point shot by Glen Rice Jr. enabled Talk N Text to take the lead for the first time, at 17-15. In the next possession, Japeth Aguilar was fouled, drained both charities to tie the score at 17 all as both teams endured another scoring slump as they were clanking most of their shots, not allowing any significant scoring run. The lead went up to 5 after a dunk by Justin Brownlee, 24-19 with 2:13 to play and was followed by a basket and a free throw from Greg Slaughter to put Ginebra by up 8. The defense of Ginebra forced TNT players to commit silly turnovers or get the ball stolen away from them as the Gin Kings led, 31-22 after 1 quarter.Joe Devance already had 9 points, on 3 three-pointers.
Jervy Cruz and Slaughter scored the first points of Ginebra in the early minutes of quarter number 2 as the lead reached 12 points off a Jervy Cruz made a basket with barely 3 minutes into the quarter. From that point, Ginebra’s lead never went below 8 points as the Gin Kings’ players off the bench were able to work with Brownlee as they kept the KaTropa clanking on defense. The rest of the second quarter was a sore in the eyes for TNT fans as their team was not only missing a big amount of shot attempts but also turning the ball every now and then. The Gin Kings were up by 12, at 60-48 after LA Tenorio drained a floater to end the first half
Justin Brownlee scored 15 points in the first half to go along with his 6 rebounds, 4 assists plus 3 steals. Joe Devance added 11 while Greg Slaughter had 8 points off the bench. Ginebra’s field goal percentage in the first half was at 52%, a better percentage as to what TNT was able to manage which was at 43%. Ginebra’s 10 steals in the first 24 minutes of the game were proven essential as Ginebra were able to run and score on the other end.
Jayson Castro, on the other side of the fence, led TNT  with 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists while Glen Rice Jr. added 12 points but thanks to Ginebra’s defense plus his erratic shot selection, he only made 4 of his 12 shot attempts heading into the halftime break. But what exactly doomed the KaTropa of Coach Nash Racela in the first half? It was their 15 turnovers that were converted into 19 points off those turnovers.
As it turned out, the KaTropa’s struggles continued in the second as the lead ballooned to 16 in during opening minutes of the 3rd canto only to be decreased back to 13 on Glen Rice Jr.’s 3-point play.
Then, Joe Devance another trey to put his team up by 17, at 68-51 with under 9 minutes to play in the quarter, prompting Nash Racela to call another timeout. All of a sudden, the lead went up as high as 22 points only for TNT to bring it down to 16 off a Glen Rice Jr. dunk, bringing Tim Cone up from his seat to call a timeout with under 6 minutes left. But that was the closest TNT would get until Glen Rice Jr. drained two charities to bring down the lead to 15 with under two minutes left in the quarter. Throughout the 3rd, Ginebra went with Greg Slaughter who scored on a wide variety of ways but most of his points were scored on the inside, something he was well-known even during his playing days in Cebu. The crowd darling Gin Kings held a 20-point advantage, at 95-75 heading into the 4th quarter.
The KaTropa were held without a single field goal in the first 3 minutes of the final quarter as Ginebra slowly increased their lead to 27 as Jervy Cruz scored on another mid-range shot to prompt another time from Nash Racela. And finally, at the 7:32 mark of the 4th quarter, Alex Nuyles scored the first points of TNT in the quarter but the lead went up 107-77 after a pair of charities from Mark Caguioa. Soon enough, the rest of the bench players of Ginebra took the floor and delivered the finishing touches to the game.
Justin Brownlee again, led the Gin Kings with his 21 points while converting 10 of his 15 attempts. Joe Devance added 19 while Greg Slaughter contributed 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks while leading Ginebra’s bench. Ginebra’s defense was again, one of the keys that gained Ginebra this win as TNT only made 44% of their attempts, including 30% shooting from downtown. Points scored by bench players was clearly another thing that was dominated by Ginebra as the Gin Kings’ bench players combined for 54 points as compared to only 30 points by TNT’s bench.
For the players of Nash Racela, Glen Rice Jr. had 26 points but missed 12 of his 20 attempts including 4 of his 5 attempts from deep. Jayson Castro had 16 points but turned the ball over 6 times. Roger Pogoy finished with 12 points but only made 4 of his 13 shots. TNT’s inability to score on a more consistent basis throughout the entire game can be contributed to the fact that they never got to hold onto the ball for long as a result of their 22 turnovers.
Scores:
Ginebra – 121
Brownlee 21, Devance 19, Slaughter 16, Caguioa 13, Tenorio 10, J. Aguilar 10, Cruz 10, Thompson 7, Mercado 7, Mariano 4, Taha 4, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, R. Aguilar 0
TNT – 94
Rice Jr. 26, Castro 16, Pogoy 12, Tautuaa 7, Carey 6, Nuyles 6, Rosario 5, Williams 5, Semerad 5, Hernandez 3, Reyes 2, Chua 1, Golla 0, Lingganay 0, Seigle 0
Quarter scoring:
31-22, 60-48, 95-75, 121-94

Defense Wins it for Ginebra! Spoiled Grand Slam Hope of SMB

Ginebra enters the semifinals after dominance against the Beermen

Greg Slaughter helped contained the Kraken’s offensive output. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
This is the quarterfinal match-up that everyone wanted to see. You see, this match-up will decide which reign will end. On one side, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings want to make it a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles. For the San Miguel Beermen, a win here will extend their season and keep their chances of winning a rare Grand Slam. There are many things that are at stake in this specific game. And by the way, we got to see another battle between two Cebuano giants in Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.
The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings anchored on their defense to frustrate the San Miguel Beermen, leading to a 104-84 victory which saw the Beermen’s hopes for a Grand Slam crumbled down to Earth. In effect, the Gin Kings will now have to wait for the winner of the do-or-die game between the TNT KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Both the Gin Kings and the Beermen immediately went to work on offense right after the tip-off which saw the lead switched hands multiple times before the 1st quarter ended with a tie, at 23 apiece. Justin Brownlee scored the first points of the Gin Kings in the second quarter on a three-pointer as Ginebra opted to throw double teams on Fajardo every time he had the ball on offense which resulted in contested shots or turnovers. Brownlee added another trey to put the Gin Kings up by 9, at 34-25 with under 9 minutes to play in the quarter. Nothing went well on the Beermen’s offense as they were either blocked by Ginebra’s big men, forced into difficult shots or turnovers. San Miguel went without scoring a single point during the 5-minute span that Ginebra went on an 8-0 run until Terrence Watson scored on a jumper to end the dry spell with under 5 minutes before the halftime break.
At the half, the Gin Kings were up, 45-32 and part of that success can be associated with Brownlee’s performance which produced 20 points while making all 4 three-point attempts. But, it was Ginebra’s defense in the second quarter which made life miserable for the Beermen who were only limited to 9 points during the entire quarter. Fajardo on the other side, had 9 points on 4 of 8 field goal shooting although he had 11 rebounds to his name. No bench players from Leo Austria’s team has scored during the first 24 minutes of action as compared to the 6 bench points of Ginebra.
Just like they did in the second quarter, the Gin Kings opened the second half with another three-pointer, this time from LA Tenorio.  Unlike in the second quarter where they struggled to score, the Beermen were able to cut down a double-digit deficit to 9 after June Mar Fajardo added another 2-point field goal, forcing Tim Cone to yell for a timeout with 7:02 to go in the quarter. The Beermen’s’s incapability to sustain a scoring was what one of the many things which kept them behind as Ginebra found a wide variety of ways to score which included a dunk by Brownlee in the dying seconds of the 3rd as the Gin Kings entered the final quarter with the lead, 74-61.
Ginebra, again began a quarter with a pair of treys that increased their lead to 17 during the first few possessions of the 4th quarter.  Scottie Thompson added another lay-up off a steal which increased the lead, 86-65 with under 8 minutes to go and Ginebra went on unthreatened during the rest of quarter. The lead went up as high as 30 after Thompson drained a trey approaching the two-minute mark as Japeth Aguilar added another dunk.
Justin Brownlee had 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead Ginebra as they moved on into the semifinals. Joe Devance added 17 points while the twin tower of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter finished with 13 points each.  Scottie Thompson only had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting but was a monster in the rebounding battle as he tallied 13 rebounds, 8 of them are offensive rebounds. As a team, Ginebra made 49% of their shot attempts including 50% from the three-point territory.  Bench scoring also helped the Gin Kings as they outscored their counterparts, 22-9.
Unfortunately for the San Miguel Beermen, nothing clearly went their way. They turned the ball over 20 times which the Gin Kings converted into 22 points off those turnovers. San Miguel shot poorly from beyond the arc as they only made 9 of their 20 attempts from that area.  Terrence Watson finished his tenure with the Beermen with 30 points and 22 rebounds. Fajardo, the leading MVP candidate this season, finished with 19 points while Marcio Lassiter added 13.

Scores:

Ginebra – 104
Brownlee 37, Devance 17, J. Aguilar 13, Slaughter 13, Marcelo 9 Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz, Mariano 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0

San Miguel – 84
Watson 30, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 6, Ross 5, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0

Quarterscores:

23-23, 45-32, 74-61, 104-84

3 Things Ginebra Needs to Do to Beat SMB

These things will help Ginebra against SMB

Guarding June Mar Fajardo is already a daunting task for Ginebra. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Over the weekend, both the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and the San Miguel Beermen lost their respective games to end the elimination round which explains their positions heading into their higly-anticipated quarterfinal match-up.

The Gin Kings had the chance to go for the number 1 spot but the Talk N Text Katropa denied the crowd darlings and instead, Ginebra was relegated to 3rd place.

On the other hand, the Beermen had the chance to finish in the Top 4 and get that twice-to-beat advantage but thanks to a stunning defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts which saw the Bolts come back from an 18-point hole, June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen fell to 6th place and have to beat the Gin Kings, twice, to be able to move on to the semifinals which will keep their hopes for a grand slam alive.

For the Gin Kings who are aiming for a back-to-back Governors’ Cup championships, a win against their sister team on Wednesday will enable them to prepare for whoever they will face come the semifinals. However, we all have to keep in mind that San Miguel has already beaten Ginebra earlier this month when Terrence Watson made his debut in a game where he scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Beerman to a 107-103 victory over Ginebra last September 10. That victory halted the Gin Kings’ 7-game winning streak.

Now, equipped with the twice-to-beat incentive, the Gin Kings know that letting the Beermen build up any form of confidence when the two teams clash anew come Wednesday is not an option because whether we like it or not, the Beermen have been in this situation where they needed to win successive games against a team. Remember? They won 4 straight against the Alaska Aces in the Finals to win the championship after being down 0-3. So, winning two straight game is, let’s say more doable for a team of the Beermen’s calibre.

If you’re Tim Cone, you wouldn’t think about having the twice-to-beat edge. If Ginebra wants a longer rest before the semifinals, dealing with the Beermen in one game is a must. Below are the three important things that Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar and the rest of the Gin Kings need to do come Wednesday:

Defend

As they all say, “Defense wins championships” and since they are the defending champions for this conference, the Gin Kings must rely on their defense if they want any hopes of stopping Watson or at the very least, June Mar Fajardo who is playing like an import for San Miguel. However, one strength of the Beermen that Ginebra needs to overcome is that the team of Coach Leo Austria is also loaded with long-distance snipers who can drop threes especially when left unguarded. They have guys like Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and even Arwind Santos who can make those long jumpers as if they’re only lay-ups.

Even though San Miguel is only making 19% of their attempts from rainbow country during the elimination round, Ginebra should make sure that they defend the shooters of San Miguel. And, don’t forget to defend Fajardo as well. Basically, choosing between sending a double-team or even a triple-team to defend Fajardo and, closing in on the shooters is a gamble and a headache for any team who is facing San Miguel and that what makes them the best all-local team that we have in the league right now.

Contribute

There’s simply no way Ginebra can eliminate the Beermen when only two players doing the job as we saw in Ginebra’s loss to TNT where only Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar scored in double figures. They are dealing with a San Miguel team which has the best starting unit to begin with and they have the best player in the league in June Mar Fajardo.

The rest of the Gin Kings must find a way to contribute in other way when they are struggling offensively. For starters, LA Tenorio’s leadership on the floor will be needed so is the athleticism of Scottie Thompson. Greg Slaughter also needs to find a way to make his presnece felt to take off some defensive pressure away from Brownlee and Aguilar. And speaking of Aguilar, he has to score more points now that he has ended a series of scoreless games which can benefit the Gin Kings because this will mean that Brownlee won’t need to take majority of the scoring load.

Live the “Never Say Die” Mentality

With or without the twice-to-beat edge, Ginebra must remain hungry for the win no matter how challenging the task of defending and defeating San Miguel. Ginebra has been known, loved and even hated for their “Never Say Die” mentality which means that they never give up against all odds.

If anything, Wednesday will be the perfect time for the Gin Kings to go back to that mentality because playing against a deadly team like San Miguel will require more than just the talents and skills. It requires the heart to go on fighting and when it comes to this, no better team does this other than Ginebra, right?

Video: TNT’s Rice Jr and Castro Exploded to Gain Crucial Win Against Ginebra

TNT Makes Life More Miserable for Gin Kings with Complications

Glen Rice Jr. regained his shooting touch to help lead TNT to an important win. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If there’s one game where both teams knew that they cannot afford to lose, it’s probably this game between crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings against the Talk N Text Katropa. 
Why? Let’s just say that if Ginebra will lose this game, their road towards a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles will be much complicated because we all have to remember that the Meralco Bolts can still snatch that Number 1 seed from the Gin Kings, should the Bolts win tomorrow. 
As for the Katropa, a win against the Gin Kings will enable them to finish the elimination round with an 8-3 record and should the Bolts go on to win against the San Miguel Beerman tomorrow, Talk N Text will have a fighting chance via the PBA quotient system to enter the playoffs as the number 3 team.
As it turned out, Ginebra will have to wait for the result of the Meralco-San Miguel game tomorrow to know their fate after the Talk N Text Katropa dominated them 122-98 which pushed the Gin Kings’ record to 8-3 after 11 games
The first half was a see-saw battle with Ginebra leading after the first 12 minutes of action and then TNT just started stepping on the gas at every scoring opportunity as Jayson Castro buried 3 of his attempts from beyond the arc as he led TNT with 17 points and 4 assists at the break. TNT took an 8 point lead into halftime despite the struggle of their import, Glen Rice Jr., who had 16 points on a miserable 5 of 15 shooting. 
Ginebra on the other hand only had Justin Brownlee who had 14 points at halftime to lead the Gin Kings. While Ginebra forced their opponent to make only 35% of their shots from the rainbow country, they allowed TNT to dominate the 2-point area which saw Castro and company 61% of the shots inside during the first half as compared to Ginebra who only made 42% of their shot within the 2-point area.
When the third quarter started, TNT started building a double-digit lead which reached 14 with under 8 minutes to play in the quarter thanks to Rice Jr’s aggressiveness. In addition to this, local players of Coach Nash Racela made a significant impact throughout the game to counter the earlier struggle of their import. Ginebra fell behind by as much as 17 points after a trey from Rice Jr. with under 6 minutes to go in the quarter. In fact, Ginebra struggled to sustain an offensive run as TNT would simply answer every run they make with a scoring run of their own as the lead later ballooned to 20 after another 3-pointer from who else? Glen Rice Jr. who scored 18 points in that quarter alone. RR Pogoy later hit a 3-pointer of his own to put TNT up by 22 with 4 minutes to spare. Ginebra’s Head Coach Tim Cone could only watch as his team fell behind by 17 entering the fourth quarter.
TNT wanted to make sure that they kept Ginebra at bay as they started the 4th quarter with back-to-back treys from Jayson Castro which forced Tim Cone to call a timeout 2 minutes into the quarter. The Blur would later add 2 more treys and Pogoy would score on a fastbreak dunk as TNT  continued to pound in on the points.
What doomed Ginebra in this game? Tons of things. They weren’t able to contain the 3-point shooting of TNT. They allowed Castro and company to make the most of their opportunity from beyond the 3-point line, converting a total of 17 out of 40 attempts which is a far cry to Ginebra’s 6 of 23 attempts from beyond the arc Ginebra was also outscored in terms of the fastbreak points where they only converted 6 points compared to 19 fastbreak points by TNT.
Glen Rice Jr. recovered from his early slump to lead his team with 36 points including 6 of 13 attempts from rainbow country. Castro complimented their import’s performance with 28 points on his own to go along with his 7 assists.  Troy Rosario added 15 points, which includes a perfect 3 of 3 shooting from beyond the arc, and 10 rebounds while Kelly Williams finished with 10 points and 11 boards. Roger Pogoy finished the elimination round with 15 points to lead TNT’s players off the bench. 
On the other hand, only Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar managed to score in double figures for the Gin Kings as Brownlee and Aguilar finished with 28 and 19 respectively. The rest of the Gin Kings struggled miserably starting with LA Tenorio who only made 1 of his 9 attempts for his 6 points.  Joe Devance was also struggling with his offense as he only converted 3 of his 8 attempts, good for 7 points for the night. The Gin Kings cannot simply play this way if they want to win back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles.

Scores:

TNT – 121
Rice Jr. 36, Castro 28, Rosario 15, Pogoy 15, Semerad 4, Chua 4, Golla 3, Carey 2, Tautuaa 2, Siegle 2, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Reyes 0, Lingganay 0, Tamsi 0

Ginebra – 92
Brownlee 28, J. Aguilar 19, Thompson 9, Devance 7, Tenorio 6, Mercado 6, R. Aguilar 4, Caguioa 4, Slaughter 4, Ferrer 3, Cruz 2, Helterbrand 0, Jamito 0, Mariano 0, Taha 0

Quarter scores:

30-31, 57-49, 88-69, 121-92

Batang Pier Bowed Down to the Kings in this Edition of the Brownlee Show!

And we welcome you again to another edition of the Brownlee show!
Tonight’s episode, Justin Shows you his stamina and efficiency by playing 42 minutes on the floor and scoring a total of 39 points on a 13/20 (65%) field goal percentage. This man is a machine as he carried Ginebra to another victory helping his team advance to the semis in which they will face the winner of the Meralco vs TNT series.
The special guest of tonight’s show was jumping Japeth Aguilar who dunked his way to a 21 point production, he was joined by Scottie Thompson who had another double-double performance scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  Ginebra was all action tonight!
Meanwhile, Global Port scared the bejesus out of us as they showcased a horror story tonight featuring their horrific shooting percentage of 35%. Terrence Romeo led the way with 22 points on a 33% FG, followed by his partner Stanley Pringle who got 16 points on a 38% FG shooting. Their import  Harper joined the horror story scoring 29 points behind a 12/33 shooting ending their conference rally on a bad note.
The battle between the two teams was a gimme as the Batang Pier showed little to no sign of resurgence the whole game.
Sidenote: Romeo and Tenorio had an altercation late in the game that resulted to Romeo being ejected and the two coaches getting a technical foul.
The scores:
GINEBRA 96 – Brownlee 39, Aguilar 21, Tenorio 12, Thompson 11, Devance 4, Ferrer 3, Mariano 2, Ellis 2, Caguioa 2, Mercado 0, Marcelo 0, Helterbrand 0.
GLOBALPORT 85 – Harper 29, Romeo 22, Pringle 16, Anthony 5, Cortez 5, Guinto 3, Ababou 3, Mamaril 2, Maierhofer 0, Grey 0, Pessumal 0, Pennisi 0.
Quarterscores: 26-19, 46-33, 76-56, 96-85.