PBA: Ginebra pummels sputtering Meralco, as title within reach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2020 09:23 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2020 10:34 PM

Justin Brownlee's all-around play keyed Ginebra's Game 4 win on Wednesday. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines—Barangay Ginebra is one win away from regaining the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup crown after dismantling Meralco 94-72 in Game 4 of the finals at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

Behind another superlative effort from Justin Brownlee, the Gin Kings took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 title series to close in their third Governors' Cup title in four years. The celebrated import scored 15 points in the second quarter to help Ginebra take control of the game.

After watching Meralco's Allen Durham raise the Best Import trophy ahead of the game, Brownlee put up 27 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks to power the Gin Kings' rout. 

Stanley Pringle added 21 points and 7 boards, while Scottie Thompson had 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

The Gin Kings can clinch the title in Friday's Game 5 at Mall of Asia Arena. 

"I thought that we did a good, methodical job," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said. "We were very methodical tonight in breaking them down."

"We did a great job against Durham and held him to 9 points at halftime," he added. "Team-wise, I thought we played him well tonight."

After a tight opening frame that saw the teams settle for a 14-all deadlock, Ginebra found its rhythm in the second quarter, thanks in part to Meralco's turnovers. The Bolts threw the ball away five times, leading to nine points for the Gin Kings, who made nearly 58% of their shots in the period and took a 42-31 lead at the half.

They maintained control in the third period, before completely breaking the game open in the final frame. Former Meralco swingman Jared Dillinger gave Ginebra a lift with five points late in the third, helping his new team take a 70-55 lead. Ginebra then got scoring from a variety of sources in the fourth quarter, from Pringle to Brownlee to Thompson to Aljon Mariano. 

"We were very methodical out there. We weren't rushing," Cone noted. "We built the lead slowly, then kept it when we got it."

The lead reached 27 points, 90-63, after Mark Caguioa drilled a long jumper with 3:31 left, much to the delight of the mostly pro-Ginebra crowd at the Big Dome.

Raymond Almazan played despite sustaining a knee injury in Game 3, and finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds in nearly 28 minutes of action for Meralco. But he was clearly a shell of his usual self, with Cone pointing out that the big man was limping up and down the floor.

Durham had 21 points, 23 rebounds, and 7 assists, but he also committed 6 turnovers and shot just 9-of-23 from the field. Meralco, as a team, was a woeful 37% from the field, including a brutal 3-of-26 clip from behind the arc.

In contrast, Ginebra shot 46%, and scored 27 points off Meralco's 19 turnovers.

The scores:

Ginebra 94 - Brownlee 27, Pringle 21, Thompson 16, Tenorio 8, Dillinger 7, Aguilar 5, Caguioa 5, Mariano 3, Slaughter 2, Caperal 0, Chan 0, Dela Cruz 0.

Meralco 72 - Durham 21, Newsome 12, Almazan 12, Quinto 7, Salva 6, Maliksi 6, Caram 4, Amer 2, Hodge 2, Faundo 0, Jackson 0, Pinto 0. 

Quarterscores: 14-14, 42-31, 70-55, 94-72.

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