PBA Finals: Ginebra takes 2-1 lead, holds off Meralco
MANILA, Philippines — Barangay Ginebra slipped past Meralco, 92-84, for a 2-1 series lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Stanley Pringle emptied 17 of his 21 points in the third period that greased the Gin Kings’ pull away.
Japeth Aguilar again delivered in the clutch, hitting a short-stab in the final 30 seconds to pretty much seal the deal for the crowd darlings and finish with 23 points on top of seven blocks.
“They were too tough to handle. But I thought defensively we just did a better job tonight,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone, who also got the goods from import Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio, who scored 24 and 11 points, respectively.
“For the first time, I felt, we made a statement [on our rhythm]. It was a tough trip coming from Lucena, turning around and playing again. But I think the difference tonight was the crowd,” he added.
Chris Newsome had a team-best 24 points, while Allen Durham fired 23 in the losing stand.
The Bolts fought back from 20 down at the start of the fourth despite the absence of key cog Raymond Almazan, who left the game in the first quarter and did not return due to a knee injury.
Almazan suffered an injury at 5:55 mark of the first quarter. He was taken to Makati Medical Center where he is set to undergo an MRI.
Barangay Ginebra shoots to extend their lead on Wednesday in Game 4 again at the Big Dome.
Ginebra 92 – Brownlee 24, Aguilar 23, Pringle 21, Tenorio 11, Slaughter 6, Thompson 5, Devance 2, Mariano 0, Dillinger 0.
Meralco 84 – Newsome 24, Durham 23, Faundo 10, Jackson 8, Amer 6, Pinto 3, Quinto 2, Hodge 2, Almazan 2, Caram 2, Maliksi 2, Hugnatan 0.
Quarterscores: 24-21, 43-42, 78-58, 92-84