Barangay Ginebra held strong late to defeat the Meralco Bolts, 85-74, in the Game 5 of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan Sunday night.
The bounce back win gave Ginebra a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven affair, moving a step closer from defending the tournament title, much to the delight of the relatively pro-Ginebra faithful of more than 36,000.
Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and one block in 46 minutes, while Greg Slaughter played as a starter for the first time in the series and finally broke out of his slump, delivering a double-double of 17 points and 15 boards along with five blocks in 33 minutes of action.
LA Tenorio, likewise, bounced back from a scoreless output the last time out as he provided 17 markers, six boards, and four assists. Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar both came off the bench and contributed 12 and eight points, respectively, with the former adding seven caroms.
Wasting away an 18-point first-half lead, the Gin Kings let the Bolts take the driver’s seat for a brief moment in the third quarter, before slowing them down in the final canto by limiting them to just 12 points.
Ahead by just four, 74-70, with 6:30 left, Brownlee and Slaughter took over, conspiring in a 7-0 run that gave Ginebra its first double-digit advantage in the second half, 81-70.
LA Tenorio’s difficult jumper pushed Ginebra’s lead to 13, 84-71 in the final 2:33 mark and Slaughter’s split from the line proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Meralco.
Allen Durham carried the Bolts with 27 points, 19 caroms, five assists, and three blocks, but got little help from others as Garvo Lanete was the lone local in double figures with 11 markers.
Game 6 of the championship series is on Wednesday evening, October 25 also at the Philippine Arena.
GINEBRA 85 – Brownlee 20, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 17, Devance 12, Aguilar 8, Thompson 5, Caguioa 4, Ferrer 2.
MERALCO 74 – Durham 27, Lanete 11, Hugnatan 8, Caram 7, Hodge 6, Dillinger 6, Newsome 5, Amer 4, Tolomia 0, Faundo 0.
Quarter scores: 21-15, 42-35, 66-62, 85-74.