Brgy. Ginebra outlasted a hard-fighting Meralco squad to take Game 1 of the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-seven series, 91-87, Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With the Bolts up by a solitary point, 87-86, and the game clock down to 33 seconds, Justin Brownlee canned two pressure-pack free throws to shove the Gin Kings on top. Stanley Pringle then increased the lead to two, 89-87, after splitting his charities.
Japeth Aguilar then preserved the win with a huge block on Allen Durham as Brownlee made two more insurance freebies for the final score.
“I honestly feel this is the way it’s going to be every game. It’s going to be a grind out fight to the end,” said Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone on the heart-stopping victory to open the ‘Finals Trilogy’.
Brownlee paced the crowd darlings with 38 points to go along with 16 rebounds. Aguilar finished with a solid stat-line of 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks while LA Tenorio and Stanley Pringle chipped in 14 and 10 markers, respectively.
Durham led the Bolts with 25 points, 18 boards and 10 assists while Chris Newsome added 24 markers. Raymond Almazan contributed 20 points and 13 boards in the losing cause.
The series shifts to the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City for Game 2 which is set on Friday, January 10.
Brgy. Ginebra 91 – Brownlee 38, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Pringle 10, Slaughter 8, Thompson 2, Chan 2, Devance 1, Mariano 0.
Meralco 87 – Durham 25, Newsome 24, Almazan 20, Amer 9, Caram 4, Quinto 3, Maliksi 2, Hodge 0, Faundo 0, Pinto 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 41-37, 71-68, 91-87.