Barangay Ginebra managed to secure an outright twice-to-beat advantage in the upcoming PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals after a hard-fought win against Terrafirma on Wednesday night, March 8, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Despite being pushed to the limit by their opponents, the Kings found a way to win, with Justin Brownlee and his teammates squeezing out a 109-104 victory.
This win guaranteed the Kings a Top 4 berth in the single-round-robin elimination round, regardless of the outcome of their last game versus TNT Tropang Giga on March 17.
With their fifth straight win, the Kings jumped to solo second in the standings behind the Tropang Giga (8-1) with an overall win-loss record of 8-2, while Terrafirma ended their elimination round campaign with a 2-9 record.
Terrafirma put up an incredible stand in their last two outings against the Magnolia Hotshots and the Kings but fell short at the end of each game. Against the Kings, the fatal blow came from Jamie Malonzo, who thundered with a two-handed jam to make it 109-104 with 13.1 seconds remaining.
Nards Pinto and Brownlee delivered crucial plays earlier, with Pinto firing a three-pointer to break a 102-all deadlock, and Brownlee scoring on a drive to give Ginebra a 107-104 edge in the last minute of the game.
Brownlee also came through with two blocks against Jordan Williams in the final minute to help secure the win for the Kings.
Brownlee finished with an impressive stat line of 38 points, six assists, five blocks, and three rebounds, while Christian Standhardinger once again had superb all-around numbers with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.
Malonzo had another dunking show, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Scottie Thompson contributed 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Coach Tim Cone only utilized seven players, with only Stanley Pringle and Jeremiah Gray playing off the bench, as the Kings continue to miss the services of LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar.
Terrafirma fought bravely with Williams leading their stand with 35 points and 10 rebounds. However, their efforts were not enough to secure a win against the Kings. Ginebra will have a shot at top seeding in the playoffs when they resume their campaign against TNT.
In the meantime, Justin Brownlee is taking a well-deserved break after playing in six games for both Gilas Pilipinas and Barangay Ginebra within a 13-day period.
With the PBA pausing Governors’ Cup action for the All-Star Weekend in Passi City, Iloilo, Brownlee finally got a chance to rest and recover.
Coach Tim Cone joked that they would be “tying him to his bed” so that Brownlee gets his needed rest.
Despite the upcoming challenges as the playoffs approach, Brownlee remains determined to lead Ginebra to their seventh championship.
Although fatigue is starting to set in for the team, Brownlee believes that they need to keep pushing forward and staying focused on their ultimate goal.
He stated, “We’re a little fatigued and things like that, but we just got to keep going and always keep in mind the bigger picture we have, what we’re working on.”
Ginebra 109 – Brownlee 38, Standhardinger 23, Malonzo 16, Thompson 13, Pinto 9, Gray 7, Pringle 3.
Terrafirma 104 – J. Williams 35, Tiongson 18, Camson 11, Gomez de Liano 8, Calvo 7, Cahilig 7, Mina 7, Daquioag 3, Cabagnot 3, Ramos 3, Gabayni 2, Ferrer 0, Alolino 0.