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PBA: Standhardinger tows Ginebra to come-from-behind win vs Meralco

Ginebra flexed the NSD spirit yet again as it came back and stole Meralco’s thunder anew, 112-107, to inch closer to booking a quarterfinal spot in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The trio of Christian Standhardinger, Justin Brownlee, and Jeremiah Gray came through in the endgame, joining hands for the key run from a 97-all stalemate that ultimately led to the Kings’ second win in a row, and fifth overall.

“The guys, I think instinctively, they just tighten the reins a little bit more. They made a couple of big shots,” offered head coach Tim Cone as his side rose to solo third (5-2). “They just stepped up on their own and made big plays.”

Standhardinger flirted with a triple-double as he finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Brownlee, on the other hand, registered 29 markers, seven boards, six dimes, and a block.

The three-time Best Import broke the aforementioned deadlock through a pair of free throws, and then converted a triple shortly after to give the reigning champions a 102-97 lead approaching the final three minutes.

Momentum would go on their side following that mini run, and Gray would make his presence felt by nailing two triples — in a shootout with Aaron Black and Allein Maliksi — to push their lead to 108-102 with under a minute to go.

It soon became 110-104 care of Standhardinger yet the Bolts kept on coming back and sliced it to just three, but Gray’s lob to Malonzo for a two-handed jam with 3.2 seconds left to shut the door close on their rivals.

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“I’m so amazed,” expressed Standhardinger, who shot an impressive 72-percent from the field. “I mean, I expected Justin to make the important shots, I’m almost disappointed if he doesn’t make the important shots.”

“But looking at Miah coming out there, struggling a little bit in the first half, and then the very important good passes and shots, he made them all,” the 2023 Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP added.

Malonzo supplied 16 points. Gray made 12 points, 11 of which he made just in the fourth quarter alone. Nards Pinto added 12 as well and seven assists as they stepped up in the absence of an injured LA Tenorio (sports hernia).

“We also said that in this game, we would need other people to rely on … we’re going to rely on other people,” said Cone. “And lo and behold, Nards, Miah, Christian, they were the three key guys that played tonight and played well.”

KJ McDaniels, meanwhile, led Meralco with 28 points and 11 rebounds in the defeat that dropped their record to 5-4.

Maliksi provided 23 points, Chris Newsome had 15, while Black and Cliff Hidge added 14 and 10 markers, respectively, for the Bolts, who actually started out nicely with a 37-27 lead only to collapse in the end.

The Scores:

Ginebra 112 Standhardinger 31, Brownlee 29, Malonzo 16, Gray 12, Pinto 12, Thompson 7, Pringle 5, Dillinger 0.

Meralco 107 – McDaniels 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 15, Black 14, Hodge 10, Quinto 10, Banchero 5, Almazan 2, Caram 0, Jose 0.

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Quarterscores: 32-37, 54-61, 76-80, 112-107.

Written By

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

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