With elimination hanging in the balance, Brgy. Ginebra displayed its never say die mentality in front of 6,502 roaring fans and turned back also-ran Rain or Shine, 104-93, Sunday night in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Down by 4 entering the payoff period, Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson and Jeff Chan joined hands as the defending champs unleashed a 15-0 run going into the final 5 minutes of the match to take control of the game and seal their entry into the next round by virtue of their 6th win in 11 outings.
Brownlee paced the crowd darlings with 25 points spiked by 4-of-11 shooting from long distance to go with 10 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks is 46 minutes of action. Remarkably, the 4-time PBA champion import finished with no turnovers despite an almost no-relief job.
“This was the first time we’re able to grind out a win the whole conference, relying more on our defense than our offense,” said Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone during the post-game press conference.
“I’m real proud of my guys for grinding it out. This is the way you gotta play going to the playoffs and this is what we’re preparing for, try to get to the playoffs and make some noise,” he added.
Chan’s timely explosion was the big difference. The 39-year old former Elasto Painter came through with 15 points highlighted by 4 triples to complement usual scoring leaders Christian Standhardinger and Thompson who contributed 20 and 15 markers, respectively. Japeth Aguilar added 10 points while LA Tenorio chipped in 9.
“Jeff played well both sides of the floor for us. If he could do that, he opens up the floor for everybody,” said Cone.
The victory enabled the Gin Kings to move up to 6th place with a 6-5 record, tied with the Alaska Aces, and half-a-game ahead of streaking NorthPort and Phoenix Super LPG – holders of 5-5 cards.
Brgy. Ginebra 104 – Brownlee 25, Standhardinger 20, Chan 15, Thompson 15, J. Aguilar 10, Tenorio 9, Pinto 6, Onwubere 4.
Rain or Shine 93 – Walker 34, Belga 12, Caracut 12, Mocon 8, Ponferrada 7, Borboran 7, Nieto 5, Nambatac 4, Guinto 2, Norwood 2, Jackson 0, Asistio 0, Torres 0.
Quarterscores: 20-23, 50-41, 73-77, 104-93.