Ginebra withstood the problems brought about by a battered frontcourt as it kept NorthPort winless, 115-100, to remain unscathed in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Justin Brownlee starred with yet another triple-double but the locals were on-point as well, helping the Kings pull through despite losing Raymond Aguilar on a night Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger were out.
The seldom-used Aguilar left during the first half due to a leg injury but the crowd darlings would manage well, turning the tides in their favor late in the third to eventually get their third victory in as many games to remain at no. 2.
“We’re just looking for opportunities to win games early. Anytime we can get a win at this point, it’s really big for us,” said head coach Tim Cone. “We’re gonna wear down and the wins we’re getting now are really important for us.”
Brownlee finished with his second trip-dub of the conference as he registered 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists, together with three steals.
Jamie Malonzo top-scored for the reigning champions with a career-high 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds.
Nards Pinto fired 18 points off the bench, Jonathan Gray sustained his fine play with 16, while Aljon Mariano added 12 — all in the fourth quarter.
Pinto and Malonzo led Ginebra’s 10-2 run to finish the third quarter with a 79-73 lead, and momentum would shift their way as the Kings broke away in the fourth quarter saw them lead by as many as 19, 110-91.
“We’re just trying to stay creative in our lineups and our game-planning and these guys are doing a really great job of being agile,” said Cone. “Moving quickly on their feet and changing defenses. Switching from this to that.”
Now the crowd darlings will shift their focus on Sunday’s match versus Magnolia in another Manila Clasico affair. Match is at 6:45 p.m. in the same venue.
NorthPort, on the other hand, dropped to 0-5 following the loss that spoiled the comeback of Robert Bolick and Kevin Murphys’ debut.
Formerly of San Miguel Beer, Murphy led the Batang Pier with 38 points on 41 shots and 11 rebounds. Bolick backed him up with 30 markers.
NorthPort will face another powerhouse in SMB, currently the leaders with a 5-0 card, on February 15, Wednesday, at 5:45 p.m. also at the MoA Arena.
Ginebra 115 – Malonzo 28, Brownlee 22, Pinto 18, Gray 16, Mariano 12, Pringle 5, Thompson 5, R.Aguilar 4, Onwubere 3, Pessumal 2, Tenorio 0, David 0.
NorthPort 100 – Murphy 38, Bolick 30, Munzon 12, Tolentino 7, Taha 4, Chan 3, Calma 2, Caperal 2, Dela Cruz 2, Ayaay 0, Salado 0, Zamar 0.
Quarterscores: 15-25, 51-50, 79-73, 115-100.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.