Thompson, Brownlee key Game 4 win to keep Kings out of a deep hole vs Bolts
Scottie Thompson and Justin Brownlee bagged the top individual awards in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, and with a stage seemingly set for their valedictory speeches, Barangay Ginebra’s indefatigable pair made sure that the revelries wouldn’t die down later that night.
The Best Player of the Conference winner and the Best Import awardee combined for 54 points as the defending champion Gin Kings pulled out a 95-84 victory over Meralco at Smart Araneta Coliseum that tied the best-of-seven finalé at two games apiece before 17,298 animated fans.
“Let me just say that Justin and Scottie did a great job. We’ve all seen this over the years—when players get the awards, that motivates the other team, and they (award winners) usually end up losing the game,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said.
“But I think Scottie and Justin really had a sense that they wanted to prove that they deserved the awards tonight. And they really stepped up,” he went on.
Thompson and Brownlee finished with 27 points each, greasing a third-period pull-away that put their foes into holes as deep as 20 points before coming through with some key plays in the final frame that kept Meralco at arm’s length the rest of the way.
“The difference between life and death, I tell you,” Cone said of the win which forged another deadlock. “Like I’ve said at halftime, we were playing for our lives in this game. We go down 3-1, though not impossible, but the odds are going to be greatly against us.”
Tony Bishop Jr. led the way for Meralco with 25 points and eight rebounds. Chris Newsome, Aaron Black and Raymond Almazan all finished with twin-digit scores, but they lacked extra offensive juice when the Bolts pulled within nine, 93-84, with 1:11 remaining.
“This was, in my mind, a must-win for us to stay in this series and have a chance to win [the title],” said Cone, who also drew commendable performances from LA Tenorio, Christian Standhardinger and Jeff Chan.
The two clubs again break the tie on Easter Sunday.
“Now, it’s a best-of-three series and it’s equal,” Cone said. “So it’s basically whoever gets the next game is going to have the leg up.”
Thompson tabbed his first-ever Best Player of the Conference trophy, racking up a total of 1,128 points to easily win over TNT’s Mikey Williams, the Philippine Cup winner who tallied just 699, and NorthPort’s Robert Bolick (581), Arwind Santos (428), and Phoenix Super LPG’s Matthew Wright (416).
Brownlee, meanwhile, collected 1,275 to eclipse Magnolia’s Mike Harris (795), Meralco’s Bishop (739) and NLEX’s Cameron Clark (443), for the Best Import award, becoming, in the process, just the 10th man to win the award at least twice.
“I’m just trying to work hard. The main thing for me was trying to get into shape. Having that layoff [during the lockdown], you know, it was definitely hard to get back,” said Brownlee, who also overcame several torn ankle ligaments on the way back to his deadly form.
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