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PBA: Three Kings show way as Ginebra draws first blood vs Bay Area


Ginebra stole Bay Area’s Christmas by taking the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals opener, 96-81, Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Kings leaned on their star trio of LA Tenorio, Justin Brownlee, and Christian Standhardinger for the key 15-0 second-quarter run to take control of the match for good on the way to drawing first blood in the best-of-seven affair.

“Obviously today’s game, it doesn’t win us a championship, it doesn’t lose a championship for Bay Area, but the bottomline is, we got the first step forward so that was the crucial part,” offered head coach Tim Cone.

Brownlee led the way with 28 points and 13 rebounds with six assists, no longer needing to put up another 40-piece the way he did in their first encounter with the guest team last October as he received plenty of support this time.

Tenorio, for one, reset his conference-high to 22 points, and also collected two rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 33 minutes. Standhardinger submitted his own double-double with 16 and 10.

The troika were on the forefront of the Barangay’s 19-6 assault to end the first half with a 45-40 advantage, which turned the tides in their favor after trailing by as much as eight points early in the second chapter.

Brownlee then went on to apply the finishing touches later on, scoring 10 in the final frame as Ginebra completely left the guest team in the dust.

Making the victory all the more special was that 18,252 fans witnessed it live, the biggest crowd since 20,224 trooped to the same venue to see the Kings’ coronation in Game Six of last season’s Governors’ Cup last April.

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“Playing in the Finals, playing on Christmas Day is a little overwhelming,” Cone said. “Playing in the Finals is a little overwhelming. You add the two together, it makes for a lot of anxiety coming into a game like this and playing it.

“It is a special moment. People are either coming with their families or coming from their thing to watch us. They’re here to watch, not just us, but they’re here to watch the Philippines play. I think that makes it extra special.”

Ginebra’s firepower was once again in display but their defense played a huge factor as well. They held Andrew Nicholson to just 27 points, resetting his conference-low from 28 points which he also had against the Barangay.

The former NBA cager, though, still shot 10-of-17 from the field but missed five of his nine freebies to lead Bay Area in the defeat,

Glen Yang and Zhu Songwei backed him up with 12 points, with the latter still managing to nearly match his average despite garnering three fouls just three minutes into the ball game. Kobey Lam added 11 markers.

Game Two is on Wednesday, December 28, 5:45 p.m. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Ginebra 96 – Brownlee 28, Tenorio 22, Standhardinger 16, Thompson 14, J.Aguilar 6, Pringle 5, Malonzo 3, Gray 2, Pessumal 0, R.Aguilar 0, Mariano 0.

Bay Area 81 – Nicholson 27 Yang 12, Zhu 12, Lam 11, Ju 6, Song 5, Blankley 4, Liu 2, Zheng 2, Reid 0.

Quarterscores: 22-25, 45-40, 72-64, 96-81.

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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


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