Defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel marched their way back to the finals after ousting TNT KaTropa in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Sunday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Gin Kings took advantage of an import-less TNT to notch a 115-105 victory in Game Four and finish their series, 3-1.
Justin Brownlee exploded for 46 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to carry the Gin Kings who set up a finals rematch with the Meralco Bolts.
LA Tenorio added 25 points, four rebounds and seven assists while Greg Slaughter chipped in 21 points and nine boards.
TNT led by as many as 18 points but simply had a hard time to sustain its hot start without Glen Rice Jr. who was ejected in the first quarter.
KaTropa was enjoying a 35-23 lead in a high-octane first quarter when Rice lost his cool. He was slapped with technical and flagrant foul at the 1:41 mark after pushing and throwing the ball at Kevin Ferrer who drew the import’s ire following a shove.
Without Rice, TNT remained afloat until the third period where it established its biggest cushion, 72-54.
But Ginebra came out roaring, unleashing 12 straight points led by Brownlee to cut the Gin Kings’ deficit and make it a ball game.
As TNT’s vital cogs Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario wore down, the Gin Kings went on a rampage in the fourth quarter. A 10-0 run capped by a Tenorio triple handed Ginebra a commanding 104-94 lead with just 4:07 left–enough to take the fight out of the tired Katropa.
Rosario tallied 28 points and 10 rebounds while Castro flirted with a triple-double, scoring 26 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Game One of the championship round starts on Friday.
GINEBRA 115 – Brownlee 46, Tenorio 25, Slaughter 21, Mercado 11, Aguilar 6, Ferrer 4, Caguioa 2, Thompson 0, Devance 0.
TNT 105 – Rosario 28, Castro 26, Pogoy 14, Semerad 12, Williams 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 4, Rice Jr. 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Seigle 0.
Quarters: 32-41, 52-66, 80-86, 115-105.