Barangay Ginebra put to naught Glen Rice, Jr.’s 44-point explosion as it prevailed over the TNT KaTropa, 106-103, in the Game Three of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Escaping with the important victory in the heated match, the defending champions took back the series advantage, 2-1, to move closer to a finals return and a rematch with the Meralco Bolts.
Joe Devance, who was held to just four points in Game Three loss, showed the way with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Greg Slaughter supplied 19 points and six boards off the bench while three more Gin Kings scored in double figures.
Ginebra was holding a halftime 60-49 edge but wasn’t able to sustain it in the second half, as the KaTropa came out of the dugout more fired up, pulling to within 85-80 after three quarters, before finally taking the driver’s seat, 91-89, in the 7:05 mark of the payoff period.
TNT was still on the lead, 98-96, when the Gin Kings unleashed a 10-2 rally, including Brownlee’s huge three-pointer that put Ginebra ahead for good, 99-98, 2:40 to go.
Back-to-back baskets by Thompson and Devance gave them more breathing room, 103-98, with only 1:34 remaining. Rice, though, kept fighting for TNT as his triple in the last 14 seconds cut the lead to three, 103-106.
After Scottie Thompson missed both of his free throws, Rice had the chance to sent the game into overtime with six ticks left, but his three-point attempt failed to hit its target.
Thompson provided 17 markers and 12 boards for Ginebra, Brownlee also put up 17 points coupled with 13 caroms and four assists, while LA Tenorio flirted with a triple-double of 16 points, nine rebounds, and eight dimes.
The TNT KaTropa was led by Rice’s 44 points and 20 boards, while Jayson Castro spearheaded their locals with a near triple-double of 17 points, nine caroms, and nine dimes.
The Game Four of the best-of-five showdown is on Sunday, October 8 at 7 p.m. also at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
GINEBRA 106 – Devance 20, Slaughter 19, Thompson 17, Brownlee 17, Tenorio 16, Aguilar 8, Mercado 7, Ferrer 2.
TNT 103 – Rice Jr. 44, Castro 17, Semerad 10, Williams 10, Pogoy 7, Rosario 7, Golla 3, Reyes 3, Seigle 2, Nuyles 0, Tautuaa 0, Chua 0.
Quarter scores: 31-26, 60-49, 85-80, 106-103.