By Marjoe Toquillo

PHOTO: PhilStar

Barangay Ginebra proved themselves worthy to earn the semis seat after overpowering TNT KaTropa with a strong 20-point lead at 115-95 during the do-or-die quarterfinals game of this year’s PBA Governor’s Cup at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

The Gin Kings sustained the life of their championship bid after finding the right beats of their rhythm and bounced back at the latter of the second quarter to reclaim their score advantage. The Ginebra momentum was sustained until the end which summoned doom to the very eyes of long-term rivals who also had a twice-to-beat advantage, TNT.

"I've only done it a few times in my career. It's super special to win a twice-to-beat disadvantage. To find a way to do that, it's really really hard and the odds are way against you," said Ginebra’s head coach Tim Cone on their fabulous conquest of getting a semis seat despite TNT's twice-to-beat advantage.

Sixth-seed Ginebra was first seen to be pressured by the intimidating rank three TNT as the Gin Kings seemed to have a hard time in finding the synchrony of their beats which took a toll on their first quarter performance, (Ginebra) 25-29 (TNT).

However, rising from the grave was not a difficult task to do for the Kings as Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, and LA Tenorio proved that their heat as champions still blaze in the second quarter. The trio displayed astounding turnovers and outside shots consecutively which propelled their team to an 11-point lead at 59-48.

Ginebra refused every chance of TNT’s comeback as the Gin Kings were on a rampage to display a set of superb stunts and shots at the third quarter; stiffening the chances of claiming their semifinals seat with 96-74.

Despite TNT long-shot binge at the early part of 4th quarter, Ginebra’s Aguilar and Tenorio still stood firm to their goal to earn a seat at the semis, leading Ginebra to a refusal of a possible come-from-behind win from TNT, taking the semis ticket at 115-95. 

Brownlee, Aguilar, and Tenorio indeed pulled the best of their antics as the trio all scored more than 20 points throughout the match..

Justin Brownlee displayed a nerve-racking 29 points, 18 rebounds, and seven assists that launched Ginebra to a stellar lead.

Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio on the other hand accumulated strong individual score records of 26 and 22 respectively.

Meanwhile, Mickey Williams’ shooting sprees fueled the TNT KaTropa’s hopes with his TNT top-score record of 17 points while Leon Gilmore III on his lone TNT game in this conference served his purpose to end the match with 14 points. The Williams-Gilmore efforts turned out to be just not enough to give the semis ride for TNT.

The best-of-five semifinals skirmish is now set for Barangay Ginebra as they will be facing the winner of the do-or-die match of NLEX Road Warriors and Alaska Aces later the night.

Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre