BARANGAY Ginebra averted a sweep as it pulled off an 80-72 grind-out win over TnT Katropa and stayed alive in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Import Justine Brownlee saved the series for the Kings after finally getting untrack in the fourth quarter following a slow start in Game 3. He scored eight of his 14 points during the period, most of which gave the Kings the breathing room they needed against the charging Katropa.
He also added 11 rebounds and eight assists, the last of which was a feed to Scottie Thompson that gave the team a 76-72 lead in the final 85 seconds.
The win cut the Kings’ series deficit at 1-2 with Game 4 set Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Buhay pa, so we still have life,” said an obviously relieved Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the post-game presser. “We’re still alive, we’re still kicking, and we’re still moving forward.”
LA Tenorio led all Ginebra scorers with 16 points, including 10 in the first quarter when he steered the Kings to an early 11-point lead. The veteran guard went 3-of-7 from three-point range where Ginebra (9-of-25) outscored the Katropa (5-of-34) for the first time in the series.
Joe Devance added 13 and Scottie Thompson with 10 for the Kings.
But Cone said it was a struggle just to get one win and extend the short best-of-five series.
“It was tough. We just got to see if we can turn around and try to get two,” he said. “The old clich?, one at a time. That’s what really is.”
The Katropa played catch-up for most of the time, but appeared ready to make a big push at the start of the fourth when Brian Heruela hit a three-pointer that gave them a 60-59 lead.
But the Kings were quick to turn things around and regain control of the game. Devance’s three-pointer had Ginebra jumping to a 70-64 lead midway in the quarter.
Import Terrence Jones tried to carry the fight for the cold-shooting Katropa with 24 points, 18 rebounds, and four assists, although he committed a game-high eight turnovers.
Troy Rosario had 12 points, with the backcourt duo of Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro adding 10 points each. Pogoy however, was held to a 0-of-7 shooting from three-point range. (RG)
Ginebra (80) – Tenorio 16, Brownlee 14, Devance 13, Thompson 10, Pringle 9, Slaughter 8, Aguilar 6, Caguioa 4.
TNT (72) – Jones 24, Rosario 12, Pogoy 10, Castro 10, Trollano 9, Heruela 3, Washington 2, Taha 2, Reyes 0, Semerad D. 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14; 42-32; 57-57; 80-72. — Source: PBA.PH