The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel bested archrivals Magnolia Hotshots in another Manila Clasico tiff, 93-86, to gain a twice-to-beat edge for the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, Sunday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings improved their record to 8-2 and have swept the Hotshots in their season series.
Justin Brownlee nearly had a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists to set the pace for the Barangay. Japeth Aguilar supplied 17 markers, six caroms, two assists, and a game-high three blocks.
But Ginebra had to fight until the end before bagging home the victory. They had already constructed a high, 19-point wall in the second frame, only to blow it in the third quarter by allowing the opposition to knock within four twice.
The Barangay managed to rebuild the cushion and even led by 22, 81-59, with 7:20 in the fourth, but the Hotshots were too wily, as they came back strong and came within distance, 84-89, after a Jio Jalalon three-point play with 34 ticks left.
But Jalalon went from hero to goat in a matter of seconds, as his kick-out from underneath the rim went to Brownlee’s hands. Brownlee then went down the court and finished with a lay-up to make it 91-84 with 24.5 seconds left.
Jalalon made another lay-up off a timeout to make up for his error, but time wasn’t on their side. Tenorio was fouled, and he obliged by making both of his freebies with 18.6 seconds left to shut the door on Magnolia.
“Every time we look like we’re putting the game away they’ll come back and go a big run. That shows how good that team is. I was frustrated 3 or 4 times in the game… That’s the way they are,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“They do that to everybody. They use their pressure so smartly. We’re just glad to get out of that and get the win and get the top four,” added Cone.
The win served as a fitting welcome for Greg Slaughter and Sol Mercado, who have now recovered from their respective injuries. Slaughter had 11 points and nine caroms, while Mercado had nine points, two boards, two dimes, and two blocks.
Romeo Travis had 30 points, seven rebounds, and four assists to lead Magnolia, who finished the eliminations with an 8-3 card. Paul Lee made 21 points, while Jalalon chimed in 12 markers and seven feeds.
Ginebra will look to seal the top seed when they face thhe TNT KaTropa next Sunday, November 4, at the Big Dome.
Ginebra 93 – Brownlee 29, Aguilar 17, Slaughter 11, Tenorio 9, Mercado 9, Mariano 6, Thompson 6, Chan 3, Ferrer 3, Caperal 0.
Magnolia 86 – Travis 30, Lee 21, Jalalon 12, Barroca 10, Herndon 5, Melton 3, Simon 2, Dela Rosa 2, Reavis 1, Sangalang 0, Ramos 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 24-15, 46-31, 69-53, 93-86.
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