With PBA Finals franchise record 18 triples, Ginebra turns Game 3 into rout
Everyone at Barangay Ginebra expected Justin Brownlee to bounce back—which he did—from the worst shooting night of his Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) career.
Brownlee, however, was glad that he had plenty of help from his teammates as the Gin Kings, who carved out a 117-103 win over TNT in Game 3 of the PBA Governors’ Cup title series Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, regained control.
“You just got to give credit to everyone for the team effort tonight,” Brownlee said.
Ginebra is up 2-1, in the best-of-seven duel, moving two wins shy of adding another trophy, not just because Brownlee was able to find his groove.
Stanley Pringle got a rare start—actually his first this conference—and didn’t miss a shot, while Jamie Malonzo, known mostly for his athleticism and knack for being a fearless finisher inside, also connected from afar to trigger a frenzy on the stands made up of predominantly Ginebra fans.
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone praises Stanley Pringle and the rest of the team for stepping up after a rough Game 2 loss marred by Justin Brownlee's offensive struggles. | @jonasterradoINQ pic.twitter.com/fWthE1fchu
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) April 14, 2023
The two accounted for two-thirds of Ginebra’s finals franchise record of 18 threes that eventually snuffed the fight out of a TNT side that was left gassed in the end.
“Everybody can make plays and everybody has shown that they can be the main focus on the offensive end,” Brownlee said.
Christian Standhardinger and Scottie Thompson also delivered as coach Tim Cone’s short rotation was able to succeed in getting the series lead back after a 95-82 loss two nights earlier.
“It was more of a job that other guys knew and realized they have to pick it up for Justin. They just can’t keep going Justin, Justin, Justin all the time,” said Cone.
“Other guys got to contribute, other guys got to be aggressive, to take good shots and I thought we did a better job trying to execute. I think that was what was lacking the last game.”
Brownlee finished with 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting in a huge turnaround from his 12-point, 3-of-16 clip in Game 2.
Pringle and Malonzo took Cone’s challenge to heart, and they ended up the ones being talked about as those who carried Ginebra to victory.
Pringle made all seven shots, including six from beyond the arc, to produce 22 points in his rare call to start.
“It felt real good,” said Pringle, whose minutes have been limited after recovering from a meniscus tear that sidelined him in last season’s Governors’ Cup title run.
“All my teammates are great players, so whenever I get a chance to come out and hit some shots, it’s not always like that, but when I do, it means a lot.”
Malonzo, who scored 27, drained five of his six threes in the final 24 minutes, including two in the fourth when the Gin Kings recovered after the Tropang Giga tied it up at 88-all on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s dunk.
Hollis-Jefferson, Mikey Williams and Poy Erram, whose emotions have always been scrutinized, did most of the production in TNT’s bid to win a second straight game, which fizzled out in the end.