Ginebra steamrolls SMB to return to finals

PBA GOVERNORS' CUP

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Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is returning to the PBA finals.

The Gin Kings did it in style, rolling to a 117-92 victory over the San Miguel Beermen in Game Five of their Governors’ Cup semifinals series on Tuesday at a jampacked SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“I had all my losing speeches ready,” said Ginebra mentor Tim Cone after the game. “Incredible effort.”

The Gin Kings came out swinging, burying San Miguel in a 37-12 hole early in the game thanks to Scottie Thompson’s 15 points in the first 15 minutes.

“We talked about coming out aggressive. We wanted Scottie to come out and be aggressive,” Cone added. “It was nice coz it was such a redemptive win; we got redemption. Last time we were really embarrassed in Game 4.”

The Beermen countered with a 24-0 run in the second period, though, trimming the lead to just one, 37-36, off an Arwind Santos make at the 3:16 mark. Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio then ended the drought for Ginebra to stretch the lead back up to seven at the half, 45-38.

After the break, Ginebra again blitzed San Miguel, peppering them with 36 points while allowing just 15 to build a 28-point advantage heading into the final turn, 81-53. The Beermen never recovered, as they barely just outscored Ginebra in the fourth, 39-36.

Justin Brownlee led Ginebra with 26 points, while Scottie Thompson and Sol Mercado tallied 24 and 22 points, respectively. LA Tenorio finished with 18, while Aljon Mariano led the bench with 11 points.

Arwind Santos paced San Miguel with 24 points, while Elijah Millsap scored 18. Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot combined for 21 points, while June Mar Fajardo was limited to just seven markers.

Ginebra will be making its first return to the title round since 2013, when it lost to Alaska in a sweep in the Commissioner’s Cup.

The Gin Kings, who are looking to end an eight-year title drought, will face the finals first-timers Meralco for the title. — JST/DVM, GMA News

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