Barangay Ginebra turned an anticipated dogfight into a cakewalk as it cruised to a lopsided 102-87 victory in the Game One of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Quezon Convention Center Friday night.
Riding the momentum of their Game Four triumph against the TNT KaTropa in the semifinals, the defending champions banked on a strong start before weathering Meralco’s third-quarter storm to gain a head start in their best-of-seven showdown.
Justin Brownlee picked up from where he left from their last game as he wound up with 32 points, 19 rebounds and six assists in 45 minutes. Japeth Aguilar registered 15 points, four boards, and three blocks, while Greg Slaughter chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in just 21 minutes off the bench.
The Gin Kings grabbed a 49-35 halftime lead, but Meralco found their way back into the game after closing the distance to just 77-71 at the end of the third period.
But It turned out to be the Bolts’ last fighting stance as Ginebra broke free in the final frame, conspiring with a 19-4 rally that rewarded them their largest lead at 96-75, five minutes left.
Reigning Best Import Allen Durham tallied 27 points and 14 rebounds and 8 assists, while Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia contributed 14 and 10 markers, respectively, in a losing effort for Meralco.
The Game Two of the Finals is on Sunday night as the PBA goes back to Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
GINEBRA 102 – Brownlee 32, Aguilar J. 15, Slaughter 14, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Devance 9, Mercado 7, Caguioa 2, Thompson 2, Taha 0, Aguilar R. 0, Mariano 0.
MERALCO 87 – Durham 27, Amer 14, Tolomia 10, De Ocampo 8, Hodge 8, Dillinger 6, Lanete 6, Newsome 6, Hugnatan 2, Caram 0.
Quarter scores: 29-18, 49-35, 77-71, 102-87.