After long wait, Ginebra ousts San Miguel to return to PBA Finals | Inquirer Sports

After long wait, Ginebra ousts San Miguel to return to PBA Finals

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 09:25 PM October 04, 2016

GINEBRA VS SAN MIGUEL_5578

Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

It took three painful years but Barangay Ginebra finally made its return to the finals after toppling San Miguel Beer, 117-92, in a semifinals do-or-die in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Tuesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings blew an early 25-point lead but recovered and went on a bigger surge in the third quarter to put the Beermen away, 81-53.

Ginebra, which is making its first finals appearance since getting swept by Alaska in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, leaned on the all-around efforts from import Justin Brownlee and super rookie Scottie Thompson, who each had a double-double.

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READ: San Miguel forces Game 5, steamrolls Ginebra

Brownlee scored a game-high 36 points on top of 10 rebounds while Thompson wound up with a career-high 24 points and 15 rebounds, two nights after going scoreless in a blowout loss in Game 4.

“I’m still in a little bit of shock,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. “I had a lot of prepared speeches to the locker room and coming in here and talking about how proud I was to the guys even though we lost and everything, so I had my losing speeches ready. I didn’t have a winning speech ready.”

“Such a redemptive win. We got redemption from the last one and we were really embarrassed in Game 4 and to come out here and play this well in Game 5 was really redemption for us,” said Cone, whose squad bounced back from a 101-72 loss on Sunday.

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READ: A win away from finals, Ginebra has ‘no right to feel tired’

Brownlee was outstanding on the offensive end but he was even better on the defensive side of the floor as he held his own against San Miguel’s reigning back-to-back MVP June Mar Fajardo.

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Fajardo had one of his worst games of his career with only seven points on a mind boggling 0-of-1 shooting from the field in 36 minutes.

“I think the biggest key was Justin did an incredible job on June Mar all game long,” Cone said.

Like Fajardo, import Elijah Millsap struggled mightily. He came away with 18 points, but only had four in the first three quarters when the Beermen needed him most.

READ: No vacation plans for Beermen , says Fajardo

Ginebra set up a best-of-seven Finals duel with Meralco beginning on Friday.

The Bolts knocked off top seed TNT on Monday to seal their first ever finals stint in franchise history.

But make no mistake, Cone doesn’t see Meralco as a finals first timer with the team having an experienced coaching staff led by multi-titled coach in Norman Black and a leader in Jimmy Alapag, who has six championships under his belt as a member of Talk ‘N Text.

“That’s not a first timer. Norman Black is not a first timer. It’s all about the leadership over there. They dominated Talk ‘N Text and it wasn’t close,” Cone said. “The organization may be new to the finals but he’s been there multiple times, Luigi Trillo is over there which is really a thorn in my side because he knows me well. I don’t see them as a novice group that everybody else does.”

“And also, you got Jimmy there too. Obviously, Jimmy knows how to win, he knows how to make his teammates win and to me, they are the experienced group, not us.”

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The Scores
GINEBRA 117 – Brownlee 26, Thompson 24, Mercado 22, Tenorio 18, Mariano 11, Devance 6, Aguilar 5, Caguioa 2, Helterbrand 2, Marcelo 1, Cruz 0, Villamor 0.
SAN MIGUEL 92 – Santos 24, Millsap 18, Lassiter 11, Cabagnot 10, Heruela 9, David 7, Fajardo 7, Reyes 3, Ross 3, Arana 0, De Ocampo 0, Espinas 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0.
Quarters: 33-12, 45-38, 81-53, 117-92

TAGS: PBA Finals, return, San Miguel, Scottie Thompson

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