MANILA, Philippines—For the second time in the past three seasons, Barangay Ginebra has ended San Miguel's bid for a Grand Slam.
The Gin Kings came away with a thrilling 100-97 triumph over the Beermen in the quarterfinal of the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, Sunday at Araneta Coliseum, to punch their ticket to the last four of the conference.
In the process, they repeated their feat in the 2017 PBA Governors' Cup, when they also ousted the Beermen in the quarterfinals to stop their attempt from winning all three championships. Ginebra had the luxury of a twice-to-beat advantage against San Miguel this year, and it seemed as though it would need it as the Beermen held a slim lead late in the fourth quarter.
But Ginebra got clutch buckets from Justin Brownlee and Stanley Pringle, and they played terrific down the stretch to hold off the Beermen.
The Gin Kings now wait for the winner of the match-up between top-seeded NLEX and NorthPort to determine who will they play in the semifinals, which starts after the Southeast Asian Games.
"You're not gonna play a great game against this team, because they're not gonna allow you to play a great game," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone after their narrow win.
"We needed to grind it out, and that's what we did. That's what the playoffs are all about, just grinding it out," he added.
Brownlee put up 41 points and 11 rebounds, while Pringle had 24 points and 5 assists. LA Tenorio had 12 points and 7 assists, as the Gin Kings shot a blistering 53.3% from the field.
Despite Ginebra's hot shooting, it was San Miguel that held a 95-93 lead with 3:17 to play after buckets from June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo. The Beermen had an opportunity to pad the deficit with less than three minutes left, but Romeo's pass to Chris Ross in transition was off the mark.
San Miguel paid for that missed opportunity, as Brownlee knocked down a deep 3-pointer in the corner to give Ginebra the lead for good, 96-95, with 2:35 left. The Beermen fell apart in the next possession, with Pringle poaching the ball off Ross from behind and going all the way for the bucket that made it 98-95 with 2:09 left.
After an exchange of stops, the Beermen had a chance to tie the game when import John Holland drew a foul from Joe Devance, and appeared to have his shot goal-tended by Japeth Aguilar. But referees only awarded him two free throws, which he coolly converted for a 98-97 count with 57.1 seconds left.
It turned out to be the last time that San Miguel got on the board. Holland blew a terrific opportunity to go for the lead with 25 seconds left, when he lost the ball on a 1-on-5 opportunity. Ross fouled Pringle in the next possession, and he made both shots to peg the final score.
Brownlee came through with a block on Terrence Romeo's attempt on a three-pointer in the Beermen's next possession, and in the final seconds, Ross bricked a straightaway three-pointer that could have tied the game.
"It's great for us to step up and play this team like that," said Cone.
Fajardo put up 24 points and 18 rebounds, while Holland had 20 points and 8 boards. Romeo finished with just 8 markers, having shot 3-of-14 from the field. San Miguel, as a team, made 41.6% of their shots.
The Grand Slam continues to elude the Beermen.
They also won the Philippine and Commissioner's Cup titles in the 2016-17 season, only to fall to Ginebra in the third conference. It was virtually the same situation for them this year, as a lack of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals proved to be their undoing against the Gin Kings.
Ginebra 100 - Brownlee 41, Pringle 24, Tenorio 12, Chan 6, Aguilar 6, Slaughter 5, Thompson 4, Dela Cruz 2, Devance 0.
San Miguel 97 - Fajardo 24, Holland 20, Tautuaa 12, Cabagnot 11, Lassiter 10, Romeo 8, Ross 7, Pessumal 3, Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 23-23, 54-58, 78-83, 100-97.
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