PBA: Brownlee can’t be stopped as Ginebra closes in on Finals
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jul 21, 2018 09:36 PM
Justin Brownlee outscored Rain or Shine by his lonesome as Ginebra breezed to a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals series
Ginebra’s tidal wave in the first half proved to be more than enough to move it one win away from the Finals of the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Justin Brownlee was a man on a mission from the get-go and spearheaded the Gin Kings’ wire-to-wire 75-72 win over Rain or Shine on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
The American reinforcement dropped 44 points to go along with 16 rebounds, six assists, and five steals and was an unsolvable riddle for all of Gabe Norwood, Ed Daquioag, and Maverick Ahanmisi.
Just in 23 minutes in the first half, he already had 25 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. By himself, he outscored the Elasto Painters who could only muster 23 points as a team.
Still, Rain or Shine put up a last stand with Beau Belga’s long-range missile and Reggie Johnson’s short stab pulling them to within 72-74 with 9.8 ticks to go, but LA Tenorio’s split from the stripe coupled with James Yap’s missed triple tries closed the door on them for good.
“What a brilliant comeback by Rain or Shine. We played a pretty game in the first half and then we made a bunch of mental mistakes (in the second half),” head coach Tim Cone said. “We just held on by our fingernails.”
In the end, Ginebra’s lead that was once at 25 points proved to be more than enough for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five semifinals.
Tenorio was the only other Gin King in double-digits with 13 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. “We got a little bit too Justin-reliant. We have to be better at responding to what happened in the second half,” Cone said.
They try to close out the Elasto Painters and claim the first Finals berth in the tournament in Game 4 on Monday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Reggie Johnson paced Rain or Shine with 13 points and 22 rebounds while Raymond Almazan also contributed 12 markers and nine boards.
GINEBRA 75 – Brownlee 44, Tenorio 13, Slaughter 8, Chan 3, Ferrer 3, Aguilar 2, Devance 2, Thompson 0, Caguioa 0, Mercado 0, Cruz 0
RAIN OR SHINE 72 – Johnson 13, Almazan 12, Daquioag 11, Yap 9, Nambatac 6, Belga 6, Tiu 6, Ahanmisi 5, Norwood 2, Washington 2, Borboran 0, Ponferada 0, Torres 0
QUARTER SCORES: 24-10, 46-23, 61-41, 75-72
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