MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Barangay Ginebra picked up where they left off in the previous conference, pulling away for a 116-108 victory over Rain or Shine on Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Justin Brownlee finished with a triple-double of 29 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes, as the Gin Kings opened their title-retention bid in the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup on a triumphant note.
Ginebra also got a solid effort from Nards Pinto, who earned Player of the Game honors by making five of his seven shots for 12 points -- all of which came in the second half. Japeth Aguilar had 18 points, and Scottie Thompson finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
The Gin Kings, who won the Commissioner's Cup just three weeks ago, had to overhaul a nine-point deficit in the third quarter before out-playing the Elasto Painters in the final period.
"We didn't panic when we fell behind for that short time and got back into the game with a couple of big 3s, one from him [Pinto]," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone. "He's a well-deserved Best Player of the Game today. Really well-deserved."
The Elasto Painters were in control, 81-72, after a Gabe Norwood jumper with under a minute left in the third quarter. But Pinto responded with a jump shot of his own, and Brownlee and Stanley Pringle knocked down back-to-back triples to make it a one-point game entering the final period, 81-80.
ROS import Michael Qualls kept them ahead, 93-90, off two free throws with under nine minutes to go but Pinto drilled yet another triple to tie the game.
His big bucket sparked an 11-0 run, with Jeremiah Gray capping the flurry with a jumper for a 101-93 lead with just six minutes left.
Rain or Shine stayed within striking distance thanks to Beau Belga and Rey Nambatac; the latter hit a three-pointer with less than three minutes to go to make it a five-point game, 108-103. But Brownlee responded with back-to-back layups to push Ginebra ahead, 112-103, with 1:56 to go and the Elasto Painters faded from there.
Qualls finished with 23 points and five rebounds for Rain or Shine, while Belga had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Nambatac finished with 18.
But they allowed the Gin Kings to shoot a blistering 63.4% from the field, with Ginebra making 24 of their 29 attempts inside the paint. The Elasto Painters fell to 0-4 in the season-ending conference.
GINEBRA 116 – Brownlee 29, J.Aguilar 18, Thompson 15, Pringle 14, Malonzo 14, Pinto 12, Gray 7, Standhardinger 4, Tenorio 3, Mariano 0
RAIN OR SHINE 108 – Qualls 23, Belga 21, Namabatac 18, Yap 11, Santillan 7, Torres 7, Mamuyac 6, Borboran 5, Asistio 4, Demusis 4, Norwood 2, Ponferrada 0
QUARTERS: 28-21, 50-45, 80-81, 116-108.
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