Brgy. Ginebra locked horns with a hard-fighting, import-less TNT side and escaped with an 89-85 victory in the homestretch of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup elimination round, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Gin Kings, who erected an 18-point lead but saw it disappear in the face of a fierce Tropang Giga fightback, came through with timely baskets and big defensive stops to register their 7th win in 9 outings and along with it a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
TNT played without Cam Oliver who sat out the game due to a sprained knee which he sustained during the team’s match against Meralco. The Chot Reyes-mentored squad stumbled down to 4-6 and into a tie for 9th and 10 place in the team standings with Rain or Shine.
Justin Brownlee paced the crowd darlings with a near triple-double stat line of 21 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists in addition to a steal and 3 blocks in 43 minutes of action.
“You may be the winning coach but I felt like I was totally outcoached today,” said Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone in reference to his duel with TNT and Gilas Pilipinas mentor Chot Reyes. “What an awesome job Talk ‘N Text did. What an awesome job coach Chot did, recovering from the great start we had and keeping their composure. They did an incredible job of spreading us out and picking us apart.”
“We had to do everything that we could just to stay in the game and have a chance to win in the end after that blistering start,” added the league’s most successful coach who now has 1,001 career wins.
Stanley Pringle added 12 points while Scottie Thompson contributed 10 markers, 4 boards, 6 assists and a steal. Japeth Aguilar scored 9 and collared 12 rebounds while the quartet of LA Tenorio, Aljon Mariano, Jamie Malonzo and Christian Standhardinger chipped in 8 points each.