Gin Kings land the opening haymaker in The Rematch
Justin Brownlee led a fourth-quarter surge for Ginebra as the defending champion Gin Kings took an early 1-0 lead over Meralco in the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals. (PBA)
LUCENA CITY --- Defending champion Brgy. Ginebra landed the first punch of The Rematch.
It was a haymaker.
The Gin Kings took an early 1-0 series lead against Meralco in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup Finals, scoring an emphatic 102-87 win Friday at the Quezon Convention Center here.
Up by only four, 75-71, late in the third period as Meralco went on a big rally capped by a four-point play from rookie Mike Tolomia, Ginebra responded with a 21-4 outburst to establish its largest lead of the game at 21 points, 96-75, with 5:10 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Bolts never truly got close enough after that.
"We played really well tonight. We hit our shots and they were 2-of-17 from the three-point line in the first half," head coach Tim Cone said.
"They’re the number one three-point shooting team and it was an unusual night for them. Lets give credit to our defense, but they really missed a lot of three-pointers," he added.
Behind import Justin Brownlee, Ginebra got off to a fast start right in the opening period, taking a double-digit lead after the first 12 minutes.
However, the Bolts would settle down after halftime and would spark a run behind Allen Durham and their bench. Tolomia's big four-point play towards the end of the third was the closest Meralco would get after surrendering the lead in the first quarter but Greg Slaughter would quickly respond with a two-hand slam on the other end to ignite Ginebra's own rally in the payoff period.
Brownlee led the way for the champs with 32 points, 13 in the fourth, on top of 19 rebounds and six assists. Japeth Aguilar fired 15 points while Greg Slaughter came off the bench for his first-ever Finals game and submitted a 14-point, eight-rebound performance.
For Meralco, who shot an atrocious 24 percent from beyond the arc, it was Allen Durham that powered the offense with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists but he missed 12 of 22 attempts from the field.
Baser Amer was the top local for the top-seeded Bolts with 14 points.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be on Sunday at the Big Dome.
GINEBRA 102: Brownlee 32, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Devance 9, Mercado 7, Caguioa 2, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 0, Taha 0.
MERALCO 87: Durham 27, Amer 14, Tolomia 10, De Ocampo 8, Hodge 8, Dillinger 6, Lanete 6, Newsome 6, Hugnatan 0, Caram 0.
Quarterscores: 29-18, 49-35, 77-71, 102-87.
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