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PBA: Ginebra vanquishes Meralco anew, retains Govs’ Cup crown


Ginebra closed the fourth chapter of its rivalry with Meralco as the victor once more, 103-92, to maintain its kingship of the PBA Governors’ Cup before a sellout crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Friday night.

The Gin Kings turned the game around in the second half, making sure that the best-of-seven series won’t have to reach a decider en route to collecting their fourth championship in the last five editions of the season-ending conference.

Fourteen titles have now been won by the SMC ball club, tying sister team Magnolia and retired Alaska for the second-most number of PBA crowns.

“It’s a little bit shocking at this point for us because we were so far down at one point,” said Coach Tim Cone, who now owns a total of 24 championships. “I mean, we had really reached the bottom of the barrel.

“And, there was a point where I didn’t think we were gonna emerge and make a statement this conference. But again, we have a very veteran team. We have great veteran leadership, and the leadership really stepped up,” he added.

Best Player of the Conference Scottie Thompson was adjudged as the Honda PBA Press Corps Finals Most Valuable Player with averages of 17.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, including a 15-3-3 production in the clincher.

“Well, is there a player who’s more deserving? I mean, all the things he does for us, defensively, offensively, on the boards,” lauded Cone of his star guard.

LA Tenorio came through with a season-best performance with 30 points, 11 of which he made in the final frame to close out the Bolts. The 37-year-old was also the one who gave Ginebra its first twin-digit lead, 91-80, with 6:35 left.

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That takeover of his finished what Justin Brownlee started in the quarter prior, where he rifled 17 of his 24 points after scoring two in the first half.

The reigning Best Import gave the Kings their biggest lead of the game at 16, 96-80, through a triple. He also went on to finish with 16 rebounds, six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks as he won his fifth championship.

Christian Standhardinger made his presence felt as well with 19 points and 13 rebounds for his first title with the Kings, his third overall. The former BPC was one of those who held the fort for his side at a time Brownlee was silent.

“Am I shocked? Yes. I am shocked that we are here. But, you know, NSD. We’re a team that doesn’t quit,” said Cone, who’s won six crowns with Ginebra.

“We have that legacy, and it’s always an honor and a curse to try to live up to that all the time. Because it’s really hard to live up to, but these guys have been finding ways to do that,” the 64-year-old bench tactician added.

Ginebra’s successful retention was witnessed by a whopping 20,224 fans, once again breaking the record for the biggest audience drawn by a sports league locally in the time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Meanwhile, Tony Bishop had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lead Meralco, who actually led by seven early but failed to protect such, eventually leading to yet another heartbreak in the hands of its tormentors since 2016.

Aaron Black had 18 points in the defeat, the sixth Finals loss of his dad Norman against Cone. Allein Maliksi made 15 points, while Chris Newsome and Bong Quinto added 11 markers apiece for the hard-luck Bolts.

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The Scores:

Ginebra 103 – Tenorio 30, Brownlee 24, Standhardinger 19, Thompson 15, Tolentino 6, Pinto 5, J. Aguilar 2, Chan 2, Mariano 0.

Meralco 92 – Bishop 21, Black 18, Maliksi 15, Newsome 11, Almazan 11, Banchero 6, Hodge 5, Quinto 5, Belo 0, Caram 0.

Quarterscores: 19-24, 47-47, 78-73, 103-92.

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The Finals are also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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