PBA: Ginebra survives SMB’s late run to take semis series opener

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2023 05:52 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2023 06:13 PM

Photo from PBA Media Bureau
Photo from PBA Media Bureau

MANILA – (UPDATED) The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings averted a late collapse as they escaped the San Miguel Beermen, 121-112, in Game 1 of their semifinal series of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center, Antipolo Friday. 

Behind by 15 heading to the payoff period, the Beermen dropped a fiery 15-0 start spearheaded by Vic Manuel, who had seven points in that spurt, to equalize the game with nine minutes left in the match. 

Ginebra countered with a 7-0 run, sparked by Jamie Malonzo’s three-pointer at the 8:55 mark, to regain a little control, 102-95. 

Malonzo nailed another trey in the final 3:20 of the game for a 112-103 gap before Justin Brownlee unleashed a floater for an 11-point separation.

Marcio Lassiter’s late triple cut San Miguel’s deficit to seven, 112-119, but they ran out of time for a possible final surge. 

Christian Standhardinger tallied 33 big points to go along with 10 boards, while Malonzo added 27 points, including five triples, to tow the Gin Kings to a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five semifinals matchup. 

Coach Tim Cone admitted relying mostly on his first unit after seeing the Beermen threaten near the end.

"I would have liked to go deeper. We were hoping when we had the 20-point lead we'd be able to bring that to the end and be able to give our guys some rest," he said.

"But San Miguel had other thoughts in mind. They came rumbling back at us... We had some bad stretches where we didn’t play well. We gotta figure that one out. This team is too good."

Standhardinger echoed Cone's sentiments.

"You never can count them out. I think that’s the lesson we need to take out from this game, even though it was a happy end for us. We need to keep pushing," he said.

It was a tight battle at the start of the second quarter until Ginebra went on a 9-0 surge, capped by a fadeaway basket from Standhardinger, 43-35. 

The lead ballooned to 12 points as Scottie Thompson buried a trey with 1:16 left in the first half, 57-45. 

Cameron Clark registered 26 points for the Beermen, while CJ Perez and Lassiter had 23 and 20 points, respectively.