The Sunday semifinals clash in the PBA Governors’ Cup was nothing short of exhilarating, as Barangay Ginebra put on a masterclass performance on both sides of the court.
The team’s star players, Justin Brownlee, Christian Standhardinger, and Scottie Thompson, shone brightly, combining for a remarkable 85 points, 28 rebounds, and 18 assists.
Their impressive display led the team to a 121-103 victory over San Miguel Beer at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Gin Kings’ victory gave them a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, putting them one step closer to booking a return trip to the finals.
However, Coach Tim Cone was quick to caution against complacency, acknowledging that they still have a tough battle ahead.
“I’m totally shocked by this game in terms of how our guys played in a Game 2 like that. Really shocked and obviously really pleased,” said Cone, who praised his team’s effort on both sides of the floor.
“Basically, we’re a team that prides ourselves on both sides of the floor… and that gives us an opportunity to win games like this.”
Despite their impressive performance, Cone remains cautious about the prospect of a sweep, acknowledging that it’s nearly impossible to beat a team like San Miguel Beer three straight times.
He, however, said that they will try to do the impossible come Wednesday.
“The good news is, we’ve got a day off to kind of recover a little bit before we re-focus on Tuesday to get back to our game-planning,” he said.
Brownlee and Standhardinger led the way with 32 points apiece, while Thompson had an outstanding all-around game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists, securing a triple-double.
The trio was also instrumental in helping Ginebra build an 18-1 lead early on, which they extended to as much as 96-72 in the fourth quarter.
San Miguel Beer tried to mount a comeback, with Cameron Clark’s 23 points and 17 rebounds leading the way.
CJ Perez added 20 points, while Chris Ross had a personal conference-high of 19 points and eight assists. But the Beermen were unable to overcome Ginebra’s relentless defense and multi-faceted offense.
Cone expressed that the series would have been significantly different if June Mar Fajardo had been able to play, as his absence has had a massive impact on the San Miguel Beer team.
Cone also stated that he would be intrigued to see how the games would play out if San Miguel Beer had their full squad, including June Mar, to face off against Barangay Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio.
Cone acknowledged that their rotation has been affected by the absence of their players and that it has had a notable impact on their game plan.
With the series shifting over to the Smart Araneta Coliseum for Game 3, Ginebra will look to maintain their momentum and secure the win that will send them to the finals.
While a sweep may be a tall order, the Gin Kings have proven that they are more than capable of rising to the occasion and overcoming the odds.
Barangay Ginebra 121 – Brownlee 32, Standhardinger 32, Thompson 21, Malonzo 11, Gray 9, Pringle 7, Pinto 5, Mariano 4, Onwubere 0, Pessumal 0.
San Miguel 103 – Clark 23, Perez 20, Ross 19, Tautuaa 12, Lassiter 8, Bulanadi 5, Herdon 5, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Brondial 2, Faundo 1, Manuel 0.