Barangay Ginebra fought back in the fourth quarter to frustrate the Meralco Bolts anew, 86-76, in the Game 2 of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup finals Sunday night.
Not wanting to disappoint the pro Ginebra crowd of more than 16,000 fans inside the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, the Gin Kings shut down the Bolts in the final six minutes to grab a commanding 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven affair.
Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio delivered when it mattered the most as they scored 18 points combined in the payoff period to lead Ginebra’s pivotal 19-1 blast that knocked down the Bolts.
Coming back in in the 7:08 mark of the fourth quarter with fresh legs, Brownlee reasserted his presence by sinking a jumper before dishing a dime to Japeth Aguilar who went for a dunk.
The Ginebra import, who finished with 19 points, 13 boards, and seven assists, finally tied the game at 75-all with back-to-back baskets after trailing by six, 69-75, midway through the fourth period.
But it was Tenorio who threw the punches in the clutch for Ginebra as his layup in the 2:45 mark put them up for good, 77-75, before following that up with a shotclock-beating three-pointer from way downtown and a crucial steal that led to him making two free throws after Durham forced to foul him to stop the game clock.
The last season’s finals MVP of the same tournament contributed 14 markers. Japeth Aguilar had a stellar first half and wound up with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Joe Devance tallied 10 points, six boards, one assist, and one block.
Struggling from the charity stripe all game long, Scottie Thompson sank two pressure-packed free throws inside the last two-minute mark that gave his team more breathing room and capped his near double-double effort of nine markers and nine caroms on top of two assists.
Best Import Allen Durham led Meralco with another monster performance of 25 points, 22 boards, seven assists, and two steals, while Baser Amer and Ranidel de Ocampo added 10 markers apiece.
The Game 3 of the championship series will be on Wednesday night, October 18, also at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
GINEBRA 86 – Brownlee 19, Aguilar 16, Tenorio 14, Devance 10, Thompson 9, Mercado 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Slaughter 3.
MERALCO 76 – Durham 25, Amer 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 9, Newsome 8, Lanete 6, Dillinger 5, Tolomia 3, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.
Quarter scores: 18-24, 40-37, 57-62, 86-76.