Credit to Author: Eddie G. Alinea| Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2019 16:17:38 +0000
Barangay Ginebra is playing in the PBA Finals for the 18th time.
Thanks to the Gin Kings’ 120-107 demolition of the undermanned NorhPort Batang Pier in Game 4 on Friday of the two teams’ semifinal round duel of the Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
That earned the Kings a chance to win their 11th championship in 40 years since acquiring a franchise as an expansion team in 1979.
Coach Tim Cone’s Kings dominated from the start against the best the Batang Pier could offer with their depleted lineup that, again, badly missed the services of Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer and Jonathan Grey due to separate injuries.
Import Justin Brownlee, again, powered Ginebra’s well-balanced offensive rotation with a near triple-double performance in 36 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists with Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson contributing their share to the team’s cause.
The four completed Brownlee’s back-up crew in his all-around show with the steady Aguilar finishing with 20 points, Tenorio 19 —13 of them in the fourth period, Pringle 18 and Thompson 14.
That sent the Kings on standby as to who they face between sister teams Talk “N Text and Meralco for all the marbles in a best-of-seven series starting January 8 next year.
The KaTropa and the Bolts were fighting it out last night for the right to battle the Kings, at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City. Coach Bing Ravena’s KaTropa led coach Norman Black’s Bolts, 2-1 going to last night’s encounter.
Should the Bolts prevail and extend the series to its full route, a winner-take-all showdown is scheduled on Monday also at the Antipolo hoop house.
The Batang Pier bench outplayed their Kings’ counterparts 29-13 Friday, but Ginebra’s depth in talents was just too much for NorthPort to contain.
NorthPort’s Paolo Tahan and Sean Anthony combined for 8-for-21 shooting from beyond the arc but the rest of coach Pido Jafencio’s boys only managed 2-for-14 from the same distance.
Cone expressed relief he and his Kings won’t have to play a rubber match, saying the Batang Pier are capable of pulling a reversal as they have shown in making it to the semis.
“They came out and play in the conference and it was quite frightening to see how good they can be,” he added. “It kinda shook us a little bit. We gained our bearings and started to play with the way we wanted to play.”