Brgy. Ginebra roared back from a lackluster performance in the first three quarters and dominated San Miguel in the payoff period to take Game 3, 87-85, and complete a 3-game sweep in the best-of-five semifinal round of the PBA Season 47 Governors’ Cup Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Gin Kings, who trailed by as much as 18 points and were down by 12 going into the final frame, leaned on the heroics Jeremiah Gray and Christian Standhardinger to seal the win and book a ticket to the championship round of the season-ending conference.
Gray drained the go-ahead triple just as the game entered the final two minutes of play while Standhardinger converted the game-winning short stab off a nifty assist by Justin Brownlee.
Brownlee paced the defending champions with 22 points and 14 rebounds in 45 minutes of play. The naturalized Filipino shot 9-of-21 from the field and also finished with 4 assists and steals.
“Certainly different from the first two games. Just real struggle,” said Brgy. Ginebra head coach Tim Cone during the post-game presser. “I was ready to give up on that one (3-0 sweep) at various times of the game. But the players wouldn’t quit. If I may borrow from coach Sonny (Jaworksi), it’s NSD, never-say-die, at its finest.”
“Every timeout, I was looking into their eyes, at their body language to see if they’re ready to pack it in and go fight on Friday. But I never saw it so I stayed with them. We made a couple of big shots and nice stops and before we knew it, we won the game,” he added.
Reigning league MVP Scottie Thompson added a double-double of 17 points and 11 boards while Christian Standhardinger contributed 14 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Jeremiah Gray and Jamie Malonzo chipped in 13 and 12 markers, respectively.
The Gin Kings will take on the winner of the TNT vs Meralco semis duel with the Tropang Giga enjoying a 2-1 advantage going into Game 4 which is set on Friday, March 31.
Game 1 of the best-of-seven Finals is on Sunday, April 9.