Stanley Pringle gave Barangay Ginebra a much-needed lift in getting back at TNT, 117-103, to take the lead once again in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, Friday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The 36-year-old started for the first time this conference and that adjustment paid off as he dropped 22 points on a perfect 6-for-6 clip from deep to spark the Kings’ victory towards grabbing the 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 tilt.
He scored half of his points in the opening period alone to steer his side to a 29-19 lead, and then engaged in a shootout with Mikey Williams that ultimately went in his favor as they bounced back from that Game 2 loss.
“We shot the ball real well tonight from different angles led by Stanley. Stanley kept us in the game, got us ahead, kept us in the game during the first half and then hit big shots in the second half,” said head coach Tim Cone.
It was Pringle’s best game since Game 5 of the 2022 Commissioner’s Cup Finals but it wasn’t just him who regained his old form.
Justin Brownlee bounced back from that lackadaisical Game 2 performance as he fired 29 points on a 57-percent clip from the floor, on top of eight rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block to lead Ginebra.
Jamie Malonzo was as impactful as well with his 27 points as he went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, alongside 10 rebounds.
Malonzo and Brownlee nailed two of the Kings’ most important treys down the stretch as it gave them a 105-94 lead approaching the game’s last five minutes, marking the start of their pullaway towards the triumph.
It could be recalled that the Kings succumbed to their foes’ outside shooting the last time out but used it as an antivenom this time around, leading to 18 triples made to set the new all-time franchise record.
Ginebra all in all shot 55-percent from the floor, and that’s big thanks to their fluid ball movement as they ended up with 27 assists.
That kind of wealth-sharing enabled all its starters to finish in double figures, with Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson scoring 16 each.
“Other guys got to contribute, other guys got to be aggressive and take their shots. I thought we did a better job of trying to execute tonight. I thought that’s what was lacking in the last game, we just didn’t execute,” said Cone.
Game 4 is on Sunday, 6 p.m., at the Big Dome, with the reigning champions looking to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, meanwhile, set the pace for TNT with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in the defeat.
Williams had 19 points on five treys. Poy Erram had his best game of the series yet with 14 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
Jayson Castro had 14 as well while Roger Pogoy added 13 as the usual providers picked up on a night Calvin Oftana went MIA.
The difference for the Tropang Giga in Games 1 and 2, the sophomore forward only had three points on 1-of-5 shooting in 28 minutes.
Ginebra 117 – Brownlee 29, Malonzo 27, Pringle 22, Thompson 16, Standhardinger 16, Gray 5, J.Aguilar 2, Mariano 0, Pinto 0, Onwubere 0.
TNT 103 – Hollis-Jefferson 32, M.Williams 19, Erram 14, Castro 14, Pogoy 13, Khobuntin 6, Oftana 3, Tungcab 2, Marcelo 0, Montalbo 0.
Quarterscores: 29-19, 57-57, 87-81, 117-103
The 2023 PBA Governors Cup Finals is live-streamed on SMART Sports.