The defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel finished off the TNT KaTropa, 115-105, in Game 4 of their semifinals on Sunday night to arrange a rematch with the Meralco Bolts for the PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-7 finals.
The Gin Kings will start the defense of their crown on Friday, Oct. 13, against the Bolts, the team they defeated in six games in last year’s edition of the season-ending conference.
Justin Brownlee exploded with a career-high 46 points, including four three-pointers, to lift Ginebra to a pulsating come-from-behind victory as the Gin Kings wrapped up their best-of-5 semifinal series with the Texters at 3-1. The do-it-all import also collected 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal in over 45 minutes of action watched by nearly 12,000 fans at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, including the legendary Ginebra icon Robert Jaworski.
TNT played without an import for over three quarters after Glen Rice Jr. was ejected early in the first quarter after committing a flagrant foul and a technical foul on Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer. Rice finished with just two points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal before he was ordered out of the court after pushing Ferrer to the ground and then throwing the ball that narrowly missed the Ginebra rookie’s head.
With Ginebra down by 18 points, 54-72, early in the third quarter, Brownlee went ballistic, scoring 10 straight points to cut TNT’s lead to five, 67-72.
Making mincemeat of the TNT defense, Brownlee continued firing at will, scoring five straight points to knot the score at 90-all.
The Texters regained the lead, 94-90, after four straight points from Jayson Castro with 7:28 left. But the Gin Kings went on a searing 12-0 run to put the game in the bag.
LA Tenorio also played a huge game, finishing with 25 points, including six three-pointers, seven assists, four rebounds and a steal in over 38 minutes. Greg Slaughter added 21 markers, nine boards and two blocks while Sol Mercado chipped in 11 points.
TNT lost despite the valiant performance put up by its players led by Troy Rosario who scored a career-high 28 points on top of 10 rebounds. Castro had 26 points while Roger Pogoy added 14 markers. Anthony Semerad and Kelly Williams chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively in the heart-breaking loss.
TNT was in control of the game for three quarters, even after losing Rice, but eventually succumbed to the Gin Kings’ massive offensive onslaught in the final canto.
BRGY. GINEBRA 115 – Brownlee 46, Tenorio 25, Slaughter 21, Mercado 11, Aguilar 6, Ferrer 4, Caguioa 2, Thompson 0, Devance 0.
TNT 105 – Rosario 28, Castro 26, Pogoy 14, Semerad 12, Williams 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 4, Rice Jr. 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Seigle 0.
Quarters: 32-41, 52-66, 80-86, 115-105.