Too loaded, too quick and too experienced, Barangay Ginebra dealt NorthPort a second straight beating on Wednesday night that—more than anything—could deflate the Batang Pier’s belief that they have a chance to make the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Surprise losers in the series opener, the Gin Kings steadily peeled away late in the second quarter and went on to methodically dismantle the Batang Pier, 132-105, as Ginebra put away Game 3 with a lot of authority at Smart Araneta Coliseum and will have all the momentum it needs as it tries to wrap up this side of the Final Four on Friday night.
“Our depth kind of came to the front, this being our third game in five days,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. “But I have said this a million times, even if you win by 30 points, you just get one win. It still goes down to just a 2-1 lead. It’s the same as you won by a point or won by 30.
“It’s the same for them, losing by one point or by 30,” he went on. “On Friday, it’s still a 50-50 game. It’s nice to get ahead in the series. You just force the other team to make the adjustments.”
In a performance that reestablished them as the clear favorites to win the season-ending crown for the third time in the last four years, the Kings chalked up their conference-high in points quite easily, even after playing their shock troopers in the final four minutes or so, as the Batang Pier were too spent to even make the final score somewhat decent.
Justin Brownlee missed a triple-double by just three assists after shooting 41 points and plucking down 11 rebounds. He played just 37 minutes as Cone didn’t see the need for him heading into the final seven minutes.
Four locals finished in twin digits, with Jeff Chan coming off the bench in the second quarter to shoot 17 and help the Ginebra breakaway. Only Scottie Thompson, who had eight assists and six rebounds, failed to toss in double figures from among Cone’s starters. He had six points.
“They’re beat up,” Cone said of the walking wounded Batang Pier, who are already without star rookie Robert Bolick, Kevin Ferrer, Bradwyn Guinto and Sol Mercado. “I think that’s where our advantage is right now. So far so good [for us].”
Michael Qualls led the Batang Pier with 32 points and 10 rebounds and Christian Standhardinger had 20 and nine for the Batang Pier, who will have just one day to regroup, find out what’s wrong and figure out how to extend this series to a deciding game.
“We’re looking good right now with two wins, but [the next game] is a new day,” Cone said.