Brgy. Ginebra came in full force for its second meeting with TNT in the quarterfinals of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup and left no doubt as to which is the better team as the Gin Kings routed the reigning Philippine Cup champions, 115-95, Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Entering the series with a twice-to-win disadvantage, the 6th-seeded Gin Kings completed the almost improbable task of beating the flagship team of the MVP group two-in-row to march on to the semifinal round of the season-ending conference and keep their hopes of retaining the crown very much alive.
Justin Brownlee paced the defending champs with 29 points to go with 18 rebounds, 7 assists and a block in 42 minutes of action.
“It’s really special. I’ve only done it a few times in my career. It’s always special to win a twice-to-beat disadvantage and to find a way to do that, it’s really, really hard. The odds are way against you,” said Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the post-game presser.
“And to do it against Chot Reyes. He is such a huge opponent. Chot, I just consider him one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever coached against,” he added.
The Tropang Giga showed up with replacement import Leon Gilmore III after Aaron Fuller apparently suffered a calf injury during their first quarterfinal meeting. Gilmore, not surprisingly, finished with pedestrian numbers of 14 points and 4 rebounds in his PBA debut.
“We had a lot of good fortune that shined on us. Fuller apparently got hurt and they brought in an import who apparently has been here for a while but it’s a lot different being in practice shape than game shape. We had some good fortune,” said Cone.
Japeth Aguilar contributed 26 points while LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger chipped in 22, 17 and 10 markers, respectively.
The Gin Kings will clash with the NLEX Road Warriors in the semifinals with Game 1 set on Wednesday, March 23 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Brgy. Ginebra 115 – Brownlee 29, J. Aguilar 26, Tenorio 22, Thompson 17, Standhardinger 10, Pinto 7, Chan 4, Caperal 0, Enriquez 0, Ayaay 0.
TNT 95 – M. Williams 17, Gilmore 14, Castro 12, Erram 11, K. Williams 10, Pogoy 9, Rosario 7, Khobuntin 5, Montalbo 4, Cruz 3, Reyes 3, Marcelo 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 25-29, 59-48, 96-74, 115-95.