By Norielle Pastor


The Game 4 between Ginebra and NLEX set up another magical night for Justin Brownlee as he anchored the Gin Kings back to the finals once again. 

The favorite resident import for the Barangay displayed another monstrous game, stuffing the statline with an efficient 47-10-6 outing enough to send NLEX home, 112-93 in their action-packed Game 4 semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With their 15-point edge trimmed down to 8 in the fourth, Brownlee came to Ginebra's rescue by hitting back-to-back threes to book another ticket for Tim Cone and the crew in the Finals.

"Life is a lot easier when you have Justin Brownlee,” said Cone. "What a phenomenal, phenomenal performance by Justin. I’m just amazed by it."

The first two quarters were hard-fought with both teams tied at 22 in the opening frame, courtesy of Jeff Chan waxing hot from deep and Cameron Clark from the other side, exploding inside the paint.

Brownlee started to heat up in the second half as he scored the first 8 points to push the Kings, 30-22 accompanied with great court vision by the Gineral LA Tenorio. 

But Road Warriors' forward Kenneth Ighalo managed to stop the bleeding as he knocked down a corner triple and grabbed second chance points to inch close, 32-33 with six minutes left in the second salvo. 

With only 25 seconds remaining Nards Pinto sneaked in an offensive putback to give the Barangay a 53-47 advantage but Don Trollano answered back with a rainbow trey in the right corner to inch closer, 53-50. 

In the third quarter, Ginebra managed to stretch their lead 84-69, as Arvin Tolentino and Pinto pressured the frontcourt of NLEX forcing steals and finishing on the other break. 

Down by 13 going into the last frame, NLEX punched back with their import Clark went to work inside the paint and sharpshooter Phillip Paniamogan doing his thing, draining two triples to cut down the lead to eight, 80-72. 

As the Kings needed points the most, the former best import Brownlee was there to answer the call, chipping in a corner trey and on the other side a steal to push the lead back to 11, 95-84, and another three that sealed the victory.

It will be the 7th time Ginebra will enter the finals, with  four of them coming from reinforced cups with Brownlee. 

Cameron Clark's 34 points and 12 rebounds went to naught as it wasn't enough to pull off a do-or-die Game 5 for the Road Warriors.

Don Trollano was the only local for NLEX with 15 while Kevin Alas was ice cold all night with a frustrating 2-13 FG. 

Ginebra will wait for the winner of Meralco Bolts and Magnolia Hotshots and is already a promising classic match up as the two teams are their arch nemesis.

The only question now will be: Will it be another Ginebra-Meralco duel or a Manila Clasico Finals?

Edited by Jostle Pilayre