PBA Finals: Brownlee, Ginebra tie series with 30-point rout of San Miguel
Justin Brownlee raised his Best Import award then showed why there were no questions about it.
Brownlee was unstoppable again and Barangay Ginebra took its turn to rip San Miguel Beer to shreds, 130-100, and even the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at 2-2 on Friday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 30-year-old Brownlee had his fingerprints all over the game, dazzling with 37 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three blocks with zero turnovers.
It has been a bizarre title duel so far with each team trading blowout wins. The Kings, who dominated the Beermen by 28 points in the finals opener, redeemed themselves after losing Games 2 and 3 by an average of 31.5 points, including a 38-point loss on Wednesday night.
“Well, that was strange. This has been a strange series I don’t think I’ve ever seen one or been in one before,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“I think what happens is that you’ve got two very explosive teams and if you allow one team to get momentum it’s really hard to break because they’re that good,” Cone added. “So it seems like the team that can grab momentum is the team that is able to keep it rolling so far.”
True enough, the Gin Kings scored the first 17 points of the game and raced to a 21-2 lead that the Beermen could not recover from.
Ginebra had three dunks and 39 points after the first 12 minutes and while San Miguel showed signs of life in the second quarter, it proved to be short-lived after the Kings came out with another flurry to open the third quarter that knocked the Beermen out permanently.
“We didn’t expect to come here and play this way. Luckily tonight, we got it going offensively. I think our offense did a good of helping our defense. We really thought this game is going to be a close one,” Brownlee, who went 15-of-18 from the floor, said.
“I’m kinda speechless here. I’m not sure what to say about this. They demolished us in Game 2, we were sure that they could not do that again in Game 3 and they went out and they demolished us in Game 3,” Cone said. “Then, today I’m pretty sure they didn’t think we can come out and do that to them today. It’s been lobbing hand grenades back and forth at each other.”
Greg Slaughter outplayed June Mar Fajardo with 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. The 7-foot Ginebra giant was vital in the Gin Kings’ blistering start after he scored 11 in the first period alone that already matched his offensive production in Game 3.
Arwind Santos, who has embraced the role of being Ginebra’s Public Enemy No. 1, was the lone bright spot for San Miguel with 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting from deep.
Fajardo, who received his seventh Best Player of the Conference award and joined the league’s 5,000-point club, struggled offensively with only 15 points on 14 shots. He had just four points in the first half while Renaldo Balkman was held scoreless in the second half to wind up with 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field.
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