Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s title defense started in the right foot as they stamped their class over Meralco Bolts, 102-87, in Game One of the 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals, Friday night at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.
The Gin Kings are now a game ahead in the best-of-seven series, and will look to earn a commanding 2-0 lead in Game Two this Sunday, October 15, 7:00 PM at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
‘We played really well tonight,” lauded coach Tim Cone, whose side shot a commendable 46 percent. “I thought we controlled the game from pretty much start to finish. But, you take everything after Game One with a real grain of salt.”
“This is not representative of anything as the series goes along,” Cone added.
Justin Brownlee powered the Barangay with 32 markers on 65 percent shooting alongside 19 rebounds and six dimes. Japeth Aguilar finished with 15 points, while Greg Slaughter supplied 14 markers and eight boards.
Ginebra went off to a good start and even led by as much as 17, 40-23, early in the second frame, but the Bolts rallied strong come the third and sliced the deficit to four, 75-71, after Mike Tolomia’s four-point play with 4.9 ticks left.
Meralco tried to close in further, but Ginebra stepped on the gas in the final canto to prevent them from doing so. An 11-0 run ended by Brownlee’s trey put the Barangay up by 21, 96-75 — more than enough to put away their rivals for good.
“The key for us right now is to be as fresh as we can,” added Cone. “We’re not gonna get home until 2-3 in the morning. It will take a lot of both teams going to Game 2 and they’re gonna have that emotion coming of a loss. We got to find a way to battle that emotion from this long trip.”
Allen Durham had 27 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists for the Orangemen, who shot just seven of the 18 shots they took from beyond the arc. Baser Amer fired 14 markers, while Mike Tolomia scored 10.
The Barangay was superb in terms of rebounds, earning a 60-40 advantage. Moreover, their passing was also on display as they dished out 26 assists.
Ginebra also ran the floor better, scoring 18 points off the break. But they committed 19 turnovers.
Ginebra 102 – Brownlee 32, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Ferrer 11, Tenorio 10, Devance 9, Mercado 7, Caguioa 2, Thompson 2, Helterbrand 0, Taha 0.
Meralco 87 – Durham 27, Amer 14, Tolomia 10, De Ocampo 8, Hodge 8, Dillinger 6, Lanete 6, Newsome 6, Hugnatan 0, Caram 0.
Quarterscores: 29-18, 49-35, 77-71, 102-87.