Ginebra steamrolls TNT in PBA Finals opener
MANILA, Philippines-Barangay Ginebra displayed the spunk of a champion to roll past TNT, 102-90, and take Game 1 of their PBA Governors’ Cup championship series Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Save for the first 40 ticks of the series opener, the Gin Kings played with a cutthroat pace before 11,580 screaming souls on the very day Asia’s pioneering pro league celebrated its 48th founding anniversary.
Resident import Justin Brownlee scored 17 of his 31 points in the opening frame to set the tone for the crowd darlings who remained unbeaten in these playoffs.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, meanwhile, registered a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists to help the crowd darlings take a headstart in the best-of-seven series finalé.
“Guys came out and set a good tone. Then they were just able to carry the fight all the game through,” head coach Tim Con said in the post-game presser.
“We knew coming into this game that TNT is a very tough team. But our mindset was to take the first win. This gives us some sort of a lead, but this doesn’t assure us of the series, though,” Thompson said.
“This is the Finals, so we’re just giving it our all,” he added.
Jamie Malonzo chipped in 21 points and eight rebounds and was key in a Ginebra’s pull-away early in the fourth that took the fight out of the enemy.
TNT got the goods from import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s 30 points and 20 rebounds, while Mikey Williams chipped in 23 more in the scoring effort. Calvin Oftana turned in 16 points but with Roger Pogoy saddled with a frosty shooting and Poy Erram maxing out his fouls early into the final frame, the Tropang Giga hardly stood a chance towards the end.
BPC frontrunner Christian Standhardinger had 16 points while Stanley Pringle had 11 for Barangay Ginebra, which will try to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the race on Wednesday, again at the fabled Big Dome.