Brgy. Ginebra bucked an off-night from Justin Brownlee but still managed to outlast a Nick Rakocevic-less Magnolia, 87-84 in the series opener of the PBA Season 47 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, Wednesday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Hotshots lost their 24-year old Serbian-American reinforcement after he was called for his second technical foul halfway in the third frame for ‘tripping’ Christian Standhardinger. He was assessed his first technical in the second quarter for violently protesting a call, also against the Gin Kings’ big man.
Brownlee played for 46 minutes but could only contribute 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go with 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. The soon-to-be-naturalized Filipino, however, uncharacteristically committed a game-high 7 turnovers.
Jamie Malonzo paced the crowd darlings with 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field with 2-of-7 coming from beyond the arc. He shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the 15-foot line and added 12 boards, an assist and 3 steals to his tally.
“It’s a struggle and it’s such a mental game out there. Those guys and our guys kept battling. It’s not a pretty game. There were no pogi points as it’s about getting it done, and that’s what our guys did… get it done,” said Tim Cone who just turned 65 years old.
“They’re so quick on defense, and it’s frustrating for us. They scouted us very well and they know what’s coming,” he added.
Scottie Thompson came through with 16 points, 7 boards, 6 dimes and a block while Standghardinger and Stanley Pringle scored 14 and 8 markers, respectively.
The Gin Kings will try to take a commanding 2-0 lead when the two sides clash anew on Friday, December 16, 3:00pm at the same venue.