Brgy. Ginebra came in full force Saturday and completed its mission improbable with a 115-95 win over TNT in their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson took turns leading the sixth-seeded Gin Kings’ surge that took full form from late in the second quarter on as they completed their rise from a twice-to-win handicap and into the best-of-five semifinals that start Wednesday.
Sixth-seeded Ginebra’s emphatic follow up to its 104-92 win in the duel’s opener last Wednesday also gained for it some measure of revenge against the same team that ousted it in the quarterfinals of the last Philippine Cup.
For winning coach Tim Cone, beating a team like TNT twice makes the win more memorable. “It’s really special,” said the 23-time champion.
“I’ve only done it a few times in my career and so it’s always super special to win a twice-to-beat disadvantage,” added Cone. “To find a way to do that, it’s really, really hard. The odds are way against you – and against such a huge opponent as TNT.”
Foremost among those who made sure Ginebra would get to face either NLEX or Alaska in the next round are Brownlee, who finished with 29 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists, and Aguilar, who added 26 points and seven boards.
Also playing major roles are Thompson, who flirted with another triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Tenorio, who scored 22 points with the last of his four triples sucking the momentum out of the Tropang Giga’s uprising that brought the latter back from a 56-79 deficit to within 82-96.