Ginebra one win away from back-to-back titles
Paul Lintag on Oct 22, 2017 09:02 PM
LA Tenorio and the Gin Kings are one win away from repeating as the PBA Governors' Cup Champions.
BOCAUE, BULACAN --- In front of a record crowd, Brgy. Ginebra has regained control of the 2017 Governors' Cup Finals, moving to within one win of scoring back-to-back championships.
The Gin Kings stood their ground in the fourth quarter to beat the Meralco Bolts, 85-74, in Game 5 Sunday at the Philippine Arena here, breaking a 2-2 deadlock in the best-of-7 series.
Behind a balanced attack, Ginebra took a 3-2 lead and will have a chance to close things out Wednesday for Game 6 also at the imposing INC-owned facility.
Up by as many as 18 points in the first half, Ginebra watched in horror as the Bolts had a furious rally in the second behind Allen Durham.
Meralco took its first lead since the first quarter, 60-58, after a Durham score with three minutes remaining in the third but the Gin Kings regrouped quickly to maintain a four-point spread heading into the final 12 minutes.
That's when the champs clamped down on defense, holding the Bolts to only 12 points in the period to secure the victory that was enjoyed by 36,445 fans, the most in a Finals game and second-most in PBA history.
"Meralco has done a really good job of grinding out wins against us and that’s really what we’ve always tried to be about - a grind out, defensive type team and so we talked about getting back to our identity and really going out there and getting at people defensively," head coach Tim Cone said.
"I thought we did. I think we took advantage of the fact that the rings and everything, the surroundings are unfamiliar so it’s hard to shoot when things are unfamiliar. They didn’t shoot the ball well tonight. We kinda took advantage of that fact," he added.
The Bolts played for the first time at the Philippine Arena while Ginebra played its third game here. The Gin Kings are a perfect 3-0.
Despite struggling in the first half, import Justin Brownlee finished strong for the Gin Kings, dropping a team-high 20 points on top of 12 rebounds and five assists. LA Tenorio, scoreless in Game 4, added 17, nine in the first quarter that helped set the tone for the barangay.
Best Player of the Conference got the start in Game 5 and played his best game of the series, going for 17 points and 16 rebounds.
For Meralco, Durham is still the one carrying the bulk of the load as the Governors' Cup Best Import tallied 27 points and 19 boards. Garvo Lanete was the only Meralco local to finish in double figures with 11 points.
Ginebra 85 - Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.
Meralco 74 - Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74.
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