Ginebra opened its PBA Governors’ Cup title defense bid in style, showing grace under pressure to turn back an upset-hungry Rain or Shine through a 116-108 decision, Sunday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Nards Pinto and reigning MVP Scottie Thompson led the Kings’ crucial 11-0 run to take the lead back, 101-93, before Justin Brownlee closed it out as the crowd darlings dealt the Elasto Painters their fourth loss in as many games.
“We didn’t panic, and I think that’s one of the things we learned from the [Bay Area] Dragons. Not to panic if you fall behind,” said head coach Tim Cone.
Brownlee finished with another triple-double with 29 points on a 64.7-percent clip from the floor, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in 43 minutes.
Japeth Aguilar supplied 18 points. Thompson made 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Jamie Malonzo and Stanley Pringle had 14 each.
Pinto finished with 12 points off the bench, eight of which he made in the fourth quarter to help repel the opposition. He shot 5-of-7 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, and also two rebounds and three assists.
“We didn’t panic when we fell behind for that short time and got back into the game with a couple of big threes, one from him [Pinto]. And then we made a little bit of a run, again from Nards,” lauded Cone.
Ginebra will now turn its attention to the 4-0 NLEX — possibly with Wayne Selden in tow — on Wednesday, 5:45 p.m., also at the Big Dome.
Michael Qualls, meanwhile, finished with 23 points on 21 shots alongside five rebounds to lead Rain or Shine, who’s the only other team yet to win in this conference apart from NorthPort. Both squads are 0-4.
Beau Belga produced 21 points, including 10 in the third quarter to lead his side’s 36-point showing to take an 81-80 lead entering the final period.
Rey Nambatac had 18 points, three rebounds, and four assists while James Yap added 11 markers for the Elasto Painters.
RoS will have a week to regroup before taking on Blackwater next Sunday, February 12, 4:30 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Ginebra 116 – Brownlee 29, J.Aguilar 18, Thompson 15, Pringle 14, Malonzo 14, Pinto 12, Gray 7, Standhardinger 4, Tenorio 3, Mariano 0.
Rain or Shine 108 – Qualls 23, Belga 21, Namabatac 18, Yap 11, Santillan 7, Torres 7, Mamuyac 6, Borboran 5, Asistio 4, Demusis 4, Norwood 2, Ponferrada 0.
Quarterscores: 28-21, 50-45, 80-81, 116-108.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.