Ginebra survives Meralco's Game 7 challenge to retain title

Paul Lintag on Oct 27, 2017 10:13 PM
Ginebra survives Meralco's Game 7 challenge to retain title
Losing a 20-point, second-half lead, the Gin Kings had to stand tough in the fourth quarter as the Bolts threatened to steal the championship away.

BOCAUE, BULACAN --- No "The Shot" this time around but the end was the same.

Brgy. Ginebra survived Meralco's Game 7 challenge, taking a final 101-96 victory in The Rematch to capture a second straight PBA Governors' Cup title Friday at the Philippine Arena here.

Losing a 20-point, second-half lead, the Gin Kings had to stand tough in the fourth quarter as the Bolts threatened to steal the championship away.

However, a couple of big plays from Japeth Aguilar of all people, managed to help Ginebra hold on for the win in front of 54,086 fans, the largest crowd in PBA history.

Ginebra appeared safe after Joe Devance's floater put the Gin Kings up, 100-89, with 1:39 to go. However, that's when Meralco's true final stand started to give Game 7 the drama it deserved.

Allen Durham first hit two free throws to cut the deficit to single digits. Scottie Thompson missed two free throws for Ginebra on the other end and Chris Newsome scored a putback to put the Bolts to within seven, 93-100, with 1:12 to go.

Joe Devance missed another pair of free throws for the Gin Kings and Jared Dillinger hit a booming triple to with 47 seconds left to cut Ginebra's lead to four, 96-100.

With the Bolts trapping Justin Brownlee, the Ginebra import barely avoided a backing violation to keep the possession going for the defending champions. Aguilar then grabbed the biggest rebound of the game, picking up a miss by Tenorio with 24 seconds to go to force a Meralco foul.

LA split his charities and the Bolts got nothing in the last 22 seconds as Ginebra won The Rematch, walking away with the title anew at the expense of Meralco.

"These Game 7s are the most amazing things to play, you never know what's gonna happen," head coach Tim Cone, who won his 20th PBA title, said.

"It's just the clock ran out. If you gave them two more minutes, we'd probably lose that game, luckily it was only 48 minutes," he added.

Despite scoring only thee points in the fourth, all from free throws, Finals MVP LA Tenorio fired 26 to lead Ginebra. Justin Brownlee had a fine all-around game to back him up, going for 23 points, eight reboundsm and five assists.

Scottie Thompson scored 14 and grabbed nine rebounds while Greg Slaughter had 12. Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance finished with 10 points apiece.

After a terrible performance in Game 6, the Gin Kings came out hot in Game 7 led by Tenorio.

Ginebra started to pull away in the second quarter, unloading a 15-0 run for a 48-29 lead. The pounding continued well in the second half, pushing to lead to 20 points multiple times.

However, Meralco finally started to get it going in the fourth period, starting its comeback around the five minute mark.

Anjo Caram was an unlikely hero for the Bolts as his back-to-back fastbreak layups, got the Bolts to single digits for the first time in the first quarter, 85-94, with 4:11 to go.

With Meralco looking to continue marching, Japeth Aguilar made good of his turnover just seconds earlier by blocking Chris Newsome at the basket. Newsome makes that layup and the Bolts are all of a suddent down only seven with 3:39 left.

Allen Durham carried the fight for the Bolts in Game 7, scoring 26 points on top of 24 rebounds and nine assists. However, all of that went for naught as Meralco lost a second straight Finals to Ginebra.

Jared Dilliner fired 20 to lead all Meralco locals while Cliff Hodge added 14. Chris Newsome added 11.


The scores:

GINEBRA 101 - Tenorio 26, Brownlee 23, Thompson 14, Slaughter 12, Aguilar 10, Devance 10, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.

MERALCO 96 - Durham 26, Dillinger 20, Hodge 14, Newsome 11, Caram 9, Hugnatan 7, Amer 6, Lanete 3.

Quarters: 27-19, 52-37, 81-64, 101-96.



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