BARANGAY Ginebra pulled off a solid performance from start to finish and repulsed Meralco, 92-81 in Game 5 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Gin Kings moved to within a win away from clinching their first championship since 2008 Fiesta Conference with a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven showdown in front of the 22,196-strong crowd that trooped to the Big Dome.
Justin Brownlee once again provided the all-around performance for Ginebra, finishing with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Not to be outdone, Japeth Aguilar led the Gin Kings’ local offensive, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds.
He was later named best player of the game.
Joe Devance was the only other Ginebra player to finish in double figures, contributing 11 points.
Unlike in the first four games, Ginebra seemed intent of pulling off a win convincingly as it raced on to a 33-19 lead at the end of the first period and sustained it in the second quarter behind the efforts of Aguilar, Brownlee and Mark Caguioa.
The Gin Kings held on to a 54-39 advantage at the break.
Meralco tried its best to get back in the game in the third period like it did in the first four games, but Ginebra’s defense did not collapse as Brownlee, Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and Sol Mercado drilled in timely and crucial baskets at a time when the Bolts were mounting a rally to still lead 73-59, at the end of the third.
Meralco came to within five, 77-82 in the last 3:03 of the game as Jimmy Alapag and Allen Durham tried to make things happen for the Bolts, but Mercado was there with a heartbreaking trey in the next frame for an 85-77 lead.
Brownlee’s basket in the 1:28 mark made it a 10-point lead, 87-77, while rookie Scottie Thompson joined in the fray and drilled a three-pointer of his own in the last 30.2 seconds and then made his charities in the ensuing play to seal the win.
Durham led Meralco with 20 points, while Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge contributed 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Ginebra (92) -- Brownlee 29, Aguilar 16, Devance 11, Caguioa 8, Mercado 8, Tenorio 7, Helterbrand 6, Thompson 5, Cruz 2.
Meralco (81) -- Durham 20, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 10, Newsome 10, Alapag 8, Uyloan 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Amer 4, Nabong 2, Caram 0, Faundo 0.
Quarterscores: 33-19, 54-39, 73-59, 92-81.