By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is not yet going home and clinched Game 1 of their quarterfinal series against the twice-to-beat TNT Tropang Giga, 104-92, in the PBA Governor’s Cup.
Ginebra looked to snowball their way into another demolishing win after Jeff Chan drained his three-pointer with nine minutes left in the second quarter that extended their largest lead of the ball game at 19.
However, coach Chot Reyes and the rest of the Tropang Giga sparked a crucial 31-22 offensive run which cut Ginebra’s lead to just five, 50-45, heading into the second half.
The TNT onslaught didn’t stop and finally deadlocked the game at 73 off an Aaron Fuller drive to the basket with 11 minutes remaining in the final canto.
Furious on the other end, coach Tim Cone called for a timeout that also kicked-off Ginebra’s momentum-clinching run courtesy of John Pinto’s back-to-back three-pointers and another Justin Brownlee bomb.
From there, TNT never recovered and could only watch Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, and Brownlee take over in the clutch stretch of the game.
The power trio of Bownlee, Thompson, and Aguilar chipped in 38, 23, and 21 points, respectively and scored Ginebra’s last 23 points to outlast the Tropang Giga.
Meanwhile, Fuller powered TNT with 22 points and 19 rebounds while Troy Rosario and Mikey Williams contributed 20 and 19 points, respectively.
“This is the first time we beat them since we beat them in the finals in the first bubble. They’ve had our number. They have a real good feel for what we like to do,” said coach Cone.
Ginebra will look to erase TNT’s twice-to-beat advantage and upset the higher-seeded team when they clash tomorrow, 4:00 PM.