PBA: Ginebra pounces on import-less NLEX to make semis
MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra saw a gap in NLEX’s roster and took advantage of that weakness all of Sunday night to hack out a 127-93 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.
Justin Brownlee scored 31 points while Jamie Malonzo and Christian Standhardinger added 20 each as the defending champions pounced on an import-less Road Warriors at Smart Araneta Coliseum, ultimately gaining passage into the tournament semifinals.
“The nice thing for us is we didn’t leave anything to chance. We didn’t let up. We sent a message to our team and another team that we’re gonna take care of business tonight,” head coach Tim Cone said.
Sean Anthony had 16 points, Kevin Alas 15 while four others finished in double figures. But with import Wayne Selden Jr. out due to a right midfoot sprain, NLEX hardly stood a chance.
“It’s really, really bad luck (for NLEX). We didn’t know until warm-ups that their import wasn’t gonna play. Obviously, the game would’ve been different with Selden there. He’s a stud,” Cone said.
Jeremiah Gray chipped in 15 points while reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson 10 in the win that sends the crowd darlings on a collision course with sister team San Miguel Beer that’s trying to survive without six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.
“They still have a lot of weapons out there. We just have to contain some of them,” Cone said of Beermen whom they play in a best-of-five series next week.
The Gin Kings are also missing an integral cog in Japeth Aguilar and Cone isn’t too optimistic to have the high-leaping forward in the next duel.
“If anything, if we’re able to advance, he’ll be able to come back sometime in the finals. [But] not now.”
Ginebra also awaits the return of veteran playmaker LA Tenorio, whose timetable for a return remains up in the air.
GINEBRA 127 – Brownlee 31, Standhardinger 20, Malonzo 20, Gray 15, Pessumal 12, Thompson 10, Mariano 10, Pringle 5, Pinto 4, Onwubere 0, R. Aguilar 0, David 0
NLEX 93 – Anthony 16, Alas 15, Trollano 14, Ganuelas-Rosser 14, Rosales 11, Semerad 10, Miranda 7, Doliguez 4, Nieto 2, Pascual 0, Gabo 0
QUARTERS: 18-17, 56-36, 93-62, 127-93.