After failing to defend the crown last season, Brgy. Ginebra made one step closer towards reclaiming the Governors’ Cup title which they lost to sister team Magnolia by disposing of undermanned NorthPort in four games to close out their best-of-five semifinal series, 3-1, and advance to the championship round.
After dropping the first game, the Gin Kings made it three-in-a-row with a 120-107 beating of the Mikee Romero-owned franchise in Game 4, Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Brownlee led the way for the crowd darlings as the Best Import of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup sizzled for 36 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, issued 8 assists, stole the ball thrice and rejected 2 shots in 45 minutes of action.
“It’s good to be back in the finals again. It’s been a while for us. We’ve gotten close but we haven’t gone over the hump. We talked about getting over the hump and get to the finals. We didn’t want the semis to be the only level we get to,” said Gin Kings coach Tim Cone during the post-game presser.
“It’s good we’re not going to a fifth game. They shook us a little bit, but we gained our bearing and we’re able to play what we wanna play,” he added.
Japeth Aguilar also had a stellar outing as the national team forward finished with 20 points, 9 boards and 7 assists. LA Tenorio added 19 markers while Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson chipped in 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Christian Standhardinger paced the Batang Pier, who played without former Gin Kings Sol Mercado and Kevin Ferrer as well as super rookie Robert Bolick, Jonathan Grey and Bradwyn Guinto, with 32 points while Paolo Taha fired a career-best 29. Michael Qualls capped his first PBA outing with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in a no-relief job.
The Gin Kings will await for the winner of the TNT vs Meralco semifinal series with the Finals scheduled to start on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Brgy. Ginebra 120 – Brownlee 36, Aguilar 20, Tenorio 19, Pringle 18, Thompson 14, Slaughter 6, Mariano 4, Chan 3, Dillinger 0.
NorthPort 107 – Standhardinger 32, Taha 29, Qualls 25, Anthony 18, Lanete 2, Elorde 1, Cruz 0, King 0, Escoto 0.
Quarterscores: 32-21, 56-39, 86-75, 120-107.