Joe Devance scored 20 points, including a pair of putbacks in the last 2 minutes, as Barangay Ginebra defeated TNT 106-103 in Game 3 of the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals at Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
The homestretch became a show of extra effort, and Ginebra muscled its way toward key loose-ball recoveries to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series.
Justin Brownlee (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Scottie Thompson (17 points, 12 rebounds) each had a double-double for the defending champions, who can wrap up the series Araneta Coliseum on Sunday. Game will start at 6:30 p.m.
"A really good, high-quality game . . . We played it well tonight, they played their style well tonight that's why it came don't to the last shot," Ginebra coach Tim Cone said.
"That's what happens when you got two good teams like that. No lead is safe against this team."
Devance's heroics nearly went down the drain when he missed a wide-open layup with 24 seconds left and Glen Rice Jr. responded with a 3-pointer 10 seconds later to make it 106-103.
"I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little disappointed. I missed a wide-open layup. I can't believed that. I gotta be better," Devance said. "But again my teammates had my back. I'm thankful we got the win."
But Rice's desperation 3 in the game's final play bounced off the rim, which secured Ginebra's victory.
"We knew they had to shoot the three. It's obvious we just want to defend the 3-point shot," Cone said. "We thought for a moment about fouling, put them on the line, but that's so dangerous."
Both teams shot poorly from the outside. TNT hoisted 41 3-point attempts and made only 11 for 26%, while Ginebra was 6 of 24 from downtown (25%).
Ginebra was awarded far-and-away more free-throw attempts, shooting 30 of 43 from the line (69%). TNT made 12 of 14 for 85%.
After scoring just 8 points in Game 2, Greg Slaughter finished with 19.
"We played with emotion tonight, we need to play with emotion in Game 4," Cone said. "We didn't play with emotion in Game 2 and we paid for it."
Rice tallied 44 points for TNT, but needed 39 shots. He also had 20 rebounds.
Jayson Castro registered a near triple-double with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists, but the two TNT players that played key roles in the Game 2 win disappeared in Game 3.
Troy Rosario finished with only 7 points and 1 rebound before fouling out, while RR Pogoy missed all but 2 attempts from the field.
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