Brgy. Ginebra outplayed Magnolia in the closing moments of Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three quarterfinal series to draw first blood, 85-79, Saturday night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Justin Brownlee and Stanley Pringle made timely hits while Greg Slaughter delivered the telling 3-point play as the Gin Kings moved one win away from a semifinals stint with a thrilling series opening win over the stubborn Hotshots.
From a 77-all deadlock after new Magnolia import Rakeem Christmas scored on an emphatic dunk off Japeth Aguilar, Brownlee hit a triple to give the Gin Kings some breathing space. After Rafi Reavis made it just a 1-point game with an easy deuce, Pringle restored the 3-point lead with a gutsy drive off Christmas.
Slaughter then completed a three-point play off a Pringle miss to increase the lead even further and the Gin Kings made key defensive stops to preserve the victory.
“Magnolia did a really good job of muddling up the game with their defense. They kept the pace slow and they did a great job of limiting the touches of Justin and Stanley. Really, really great defensive game by them,” said Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone shortly after the match.
“Obviously, we are not ready to celebrate anything at this point. We know how good they are,” he added.
Brownlee topscored for the defending champs with 20 points to go along with 16 rebounds and 5 assists while Pringle added 18 markers.
Paul Lee paced the Hotshots with 24 points on 5 of 9 shooting from long distance. Christmas finished with 18 points and 14 boards while Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Game 2 is on Tuesday, July 23, 4:30pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Brgy. Ginebra 85 – Brownlee 20, Pringle 18, Aguilar 14, Tenorio 11, Devance 6, Thompson 6, Slaughter 6, Caguioa 4, Mariano 0.
Magnolia 79 – Lee 24, Christmas 18, Barroca 11, Sangalang 10, Dela Rosa 5, Jalalon 5, Simon 4, Reavis 2, Gamalinda 0, Ramos 0, Melton 0, Pingris 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 26-23, 48-44, 66-60, 85-79.