By Welsh Kendrick Osorio

In the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, Barangay Ginebra recovered from a sluggish start to thrash Northport 115-100, staying unharmed and earning its third straight victory.

Photo Courtesy of Inquirer Sports

Naturalized Filipino Justin Brownlee flashed his all-around brilliance with his second triple-double of the conference, finishing with 22 markers, 15 boards, 12 dimes and three steals to lead his shorthanded crew that missed Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar to injuries.

"We're looking to win the game early. We're obviously gonna wear down and wins are really important for us," said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone. "We still have LA (Tenorio) in very limited minutes, no Christian, no Japeth. Scottie's banged up but he finds a way to play through it."

Without the Gin Kings’ twin towers, Jamie Malonzo muscled the grit of his squad with a career-high 28 points along with 10 rebounds, four assists, and four blocks while also putting the clamps on Batang Pier import Kevin Murphy.

"We've asked Jamie to be our lead import-stopper. All those stuff you see on the floor despite the fact he has to go out there and give 100 percent commitment to guard imports all the time. That's not easy," said Cone.

Northport got off to a solid start, as Murphy bombed the opponent's rim with a flurry of jumpers and a trey to zoom to a 10-point lead, 25-15, before Ginebra stormed back with Nards Pinto who shone in the second frame.

Pinto sizzled with a perfect 3-of-3 in the rainbow country, delivering 13 of his 18 markers in the second canto to bring home the lead, 51-50, at halftime.

The Gin Kings sustained their margin, as Malonzo took over in the third frame with 10 markers, 79-73.

The crowd darlings continued their stellar display down the stretch, as they even managed to balloon up the lead to as high as 19 points.

On the other hand, Murphy erupted for 38 points but shot 16-of-41 from the field, on top of 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals in his first game for NorthPort after replacing former import Marcus Weathers.

Robert Bolick, who made his conference debut after agreeing to a contract with NorthPort, dazzled with 30 markers and five boards, but not even his return could rescue his crew from crashing to a 0-5 record.

A Manila Clasico matchup will take over on Sunday, as Ginebra faces Magnolia also at the bayside venue.

Meanwhile, Northport faces long odds, as it battles the 5-0 San Miguel Beermen next.

Edited by Marjoe Toquillo