Playoff-bound, at last.
After a their trip to the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup playoffs was delayed last Friday, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel finally took off and landed at their destination as they averted a late-game scare by the San Miguel Beermen, 107-99, Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“We were motivated after Rain or Shine. I could feel it yesterday, I could feel our guys were motivated. They were upset by the loss to Rain or Shine,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone on the win, which was strongly fueled by their stunning loss to Rain or Shine last Friday.
“It was a winnable game for us, we lost a sixteen-point lead in the second half and lost the game. So our guys were motivated. They were ready to come out and play,” added Cone, as they are now 6-2 in the standings, tied with San Miguel.
And it was Justin Brownlee who led by example in the bounce-back win. After committing unfortunate errors that cost them Friday’s game, he made up for it and anchored Ginebra with 34 points on 47 percent shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and four blocks.
The Barangay already had a comfortable 17-point lead, 88-71, early in the payoff period, only to give it up and allow the Beermen to race back and provide a serious threat, 93-90, after a booming triple from the left wing by Alex Cabagnot with 2:47 remaining on the clock.
Ginebra widened the gap once more, but Chris Ross’ charities sent the Beermen to within six, 98-92, with 1:21 left. However, the Barangay made yet another wave, as Brownlee and Joe Devance punched back-to-back buckets to post a 102-92 lead with 46.4 ticks to go.
A Charles Rhodes dunk and a Cabagnot lay-up trimmed the gap to a two-possession lead, 102-96, but foul shots by Brownlee and Scottie Thompson plus an lay-up by Tenorio shut the door and allowed the Barangay to come away the much-needed victory.
“Good perseverance from our guys tonight. We blew leads against Rain or SHine as well. We blew the lead tonight but we managed to keep it. It was down to 3, no?”
Tenorio supplied 20 markers, eight assists, and six rebounds for the Barangay, while Thompson produced a double-double of 18 points alongside 11 rebounds. Devance scored 16 and dished out seven dimes.
The Beermen were led by Rhodes with 26 points on 17 shots to go with eight caroms and two blocks. However, he had a game-high nine turnovers. Cabagnot backed him up with 20 points and seven boards.
Arwind Santos had 19 points and 13 rebounds, while June Mar Fajardo finished with 13 and 14 in the loss.
The Barangay forced San Miguel to 23 miscues, and scored 24 points off those errors. However, SMB edged them on rebounds, 55-53, and their benched also produced better, 23-14.
Ginebra will next face Blackwater on Friday, May 26, 7:00 PM at the Cuneta Astrodome. Meanwhile, San Miguel will aim to bounce back versus Alaska the next day, May 27, Saturday, 5:15 PM at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Ginebra (107) – Brownlee 34, Tenorio 20, Thompson 18, Devance 16, Aguilar 5, Ferrer 5, Mercado 3, Marcelo 2, Cruz 2, Caguioa 2, Ellis 0.
San Miguel (99) – Rhodes 26, Cabagnot 20, Santos 19, Fajardo 13, Lassiter 10, Ross 7, Espinas 4, Heruela 0, Semerad 0.
Quarterscores: 31-15, 52-39, 80-65, 107-99.