Brgy. Ginebra unleashed a crippling 15-0 run halfway into the final frame and cruised to a 95-86 win over NLEX in Game 1 of their best-of-five semifinal series in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup, Wednesday night at MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The Gin Kings were led by prolific reinforcement Justin Brownlee who finished with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and perfect 6-of-6 from the stripe. The 33-year old former Best Import awardee also contributed 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks and a steal in 42 minutes of play.
The victory, however, came at a cost as high-leaping forward Japeth Aguilar suffered a calf injury in the 10:43 mark of the third quarter.
“I’m happy with this win, but it was tempered by Japeth’s injury. It was really important to get the first win to have that margin of error without Japeth. We won’t know the status until tomorrow,” said head coach Tim Cone during the post-game press conference.
LA Tenorio, who was chosen as the Best Player for the second straight game, paced the crowd darlings’ local unit with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting including 2-of-5 from long distance to go with 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
“We started flat and we can’t do that against NLEX which is a very aggressive team. We have to have that sense of urgency especially as this is a short series. Buti naman nakalusot pa; it’s more of defense than offense,” said Tenorio during the BPG interview.
Scottie Thompson chipped in 15 points, 11 boards and 3 dimes while Arvin Tolentino and Christian Standhardinger added 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Cameron Clark led the Road Warriors with 30 points and 13 boards while Kevin Alas contributed 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Game 2 is set on Friday, March 25 at the same venue.
Brgy. Ginebra 95 – Brownlee 27, Tenorio 19, Thompson 15, Tolentino 11, Standhardinger 10, Chan 7, Aguilar 4, Pinto 2, Caperal 0, Onwubere 0, Enriquez 0.
NLEX 86 – Clark 30, Alas 17, Semerad 8, Quinahan 8, Trollano 6, Paniamogan 5, Nieto 4, Chua 3, Rosales 3, Varilla 2, Ighalo 0.
Quarterscores: 23-29, 43-45, 70-64, 95-86.